a story in four photographs…

a new way into our church - iPhone 4

I think what I love best about photography is how an image can help to tell a story. Sometimes the photograph is the story. Believe me, as a writer that’s a hard concession to make.

Understanding image as story not only means seeing the picture differently, it means looking differently before releasing the shutter. The question is not necessarily about form or beauty so much as it is about communication. The result is still art, but art on a deeper plane.

Here are four photographs I took over 24 hours, Monday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon. I’ll deal with them separately, then – maybe – draw a conclusion.

CHURCH: First is this new entrance to our church. The access was completed last fall and I often use it as an easy exit. But yesterday, driving down Morgan, I glanced to the right and – for the first time – saw it as a way to come in. So I turned my car around, pulled out my iPhone 4, and recorded the image you see above.

I was captured by the idea of a new way in. Jesus came to offer a new and living way. This community of faith is becoming more and more about the tearing down of boundaries, the removing the old walls, and introducing the Christ of the Open Door rather than one more version of the all too familiar “we’re right – you’re wrong” religion. For me, driving by, our New Way In was a metaphor I couldn’t pass up.

Margie, Rebekah, Olivia and Scout

FRIENDS: This is Margie Binder and her delightful daughter, Olivia. The “Open Door” image immediately makes me think about her story.

One fine day – back when we lived in Pensacola – a young Naval officer and helicopter pilot drove past the church we served. She stopped, turned her car around, took another look, walked in the front door, and found Rebekah. She hadn’t grown up in church, but she knew she needed to know God and she gave her life to Jesus. Her name was Margie and she became one of our dearest friends.

Today Margie works as a medical technologies manager. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children, and came to visit this weekend by way of Disney. And when I think about Margie’s story I pray that we continue to open our doors a little wider and welcome more people in to the joy of a life of faith.

Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7)

Darth Maul - chilling

DARTH MAUL: Darth – still the world’s coolest cat – has reached that stage of life where his priority is 99% contemplation and (barely) 1% action. Seeing Darth sitting by the window reminded my of my commitment to be more deliberately contemplative in my spiritual life.

Psalm 46 offers the following advice: “Be still and know that I am God.” Or, “Calm down” the CEV translates, “and learn that I am God.” The Message puts it this way, “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”

It’s a good word, however the idea is parsed.

Sky over Valrico, Florida - iPhone 4

BIGGER THAN THE SKY: Then, as a benediction to these thoughts, I looked up – always a useful posture – to witness this small slice of sky during a small slice of the day. What I saw was a deep window into eternity.

Perspective. Expanse. Life beyond life. Punctuation. A long semi-colon.

At this time so much of my thought process is drifting to eternity. The sky; this sky; spoke into my soul. Life is so much bigger than the sky. Life is so much bigger than mortality. The scope of being is so much bigger than life.

The scope of being is so much bigger than life.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. – Revelation 22:1-6

Looking into eternity

I don’t make this stuff up, you know. I just write down what I see – DEREK

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