What Do You See?Of the five senses, seeing is arguably, the most critical to our functioning in the world. Sight is a veritable superhighway of information to our brains. So overwhelming and profound is the place of physical sightedness in our lives that it readily lends itself as a metaphor for comprehension and understanding. Who can argue against the notion that seeing a full moon on a clear night, or a mountain vista, or a baby’s face conveys far more than just an image to our mind’s eye.
In this metaphorical sense, not seeing is a source of frustration and confusion. How many times do you talk to (or yell at?) a politician or a commentator on your televison screen because they don’t “see” something? We are affirmed when others see what we see and when they don’t, well, most of the time we try to get them to see what we see, as contrasted with, asking them “What do you see?”
The Lord Does Not See as Mortals
A steady, persistent theme of scripture however, is that God does not see as human beings do. Humans typically look on the surface or the appearance, where God looks into the heart, the soul, and sees the character of a person
(I Samuel 16:7). God’s ways are not our ways and what seems right to us is often an offense to God. Hmmm . . . we humans have a significant disconnect here!
The good news of course, is that the Holy Spirit will assist us to see the world and people in it as God does. And seeing as God sees, can move us to act in ways that are pleasing to God.
At Good Shepherd we are involved in the work of trying to “see” what God would have us to do at this particular moment in our life and ministry. While we will not all see everything in the same way, none the less it is important to share a common vision that unites us in common mission for the love of Jesus Christ.
Obviously, the starting point for seeing the world as God sees it is holy scripture, but sometimes because of its familiarity, we think we already know what the bible says even as we are hearing it. To get around this tendency we viewed a short movie titled, Everyday Creativity. In this film, National Geographic photographer DeWitt Jones, uses the art of taking pictures as a vehicle to see the extraordinary. Along the way he introduces nine key concepts that apply equally to your life, or your business, as well as they apply to seeing things with God’s holy perspective.
The Key Concepts
• Creativity is the ability to look at the ordinary and see the extraordinary.
• Every act can be a creative one.
• Creativity is a matter of perspective.
• There is more than one right solution.
• Reframe problems into opportunities.
• Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
• Break the pattern.
• Train your technique.
• You have to really care.
After the movie, those seated at tables were given one of the Key Concepts to discuss around these three questions:
1. How did you see this concept appearing in DeWitt’s film?
2. How do you see this concept at work in your world?
3. How might this concept guide and shape our life and mission at Good Shepherd?
As is becoming usual now, 75 parishioners were very creative in their responses to the assigned task. The movie was very well done and provided a terrific jump-off for conversation about Good Shepherd.
This interesting film effectively helped us to see, that engaging the world and its challenges is largely a matter of perspective and that shifting perspective can unleash energy and creativity. Holy Scripture and particularly the story of Jesus are ever inviting us to see things as God sees them with his perspective and unleash in our lives his grace.
Significant and useable wisdom resides in the people of God. Parish life and ministry in the 21st century must avail itself of this resource and in the process invest God’s people in God’s redemptive mission in the world beyond the parish threshold.