when how we look changes what we see

– my mum between our two homes

Before the mountains were born,
    before you birthed the earth and the inhabited world—
    from forever in the past
    to forever in the future, you are God.

Psalm 90:2

– writer Derek Maul in the garden

As a photographer – and as a writer, too – I love to try to look at things differently, either from a fresh angle or from a unique approach. Not just that, but fresh eyes. Sometimes we have to look at the same thing, describe the same thing, time and again before we actually see.

I was listening to a forensics expert the other day who talked about returning to the same scene, or the same photographs, day after day and only then putting together the real story. Nothing changes, nothing rearranges itself, other than the perception of the one looking.

Rebekah often talks about returning to a Bible passage to learn new insights, mine deeper truths, sometimes even being upended in terms of understanding. “I can’t imagine how any preacher could repeat a sermon from the past, word for word, when the scriptures are alive and constantly interfacing with our day to day living in real time.”

So much to learn:

This week I found myself walking around outside our home here in Wake Forest, looking at the literally millions of new leaves, sight lines changed, perspective shifting. Same house, no additions or renovations. I particularly noted the scale when my mother appeared at the top of her driveway. I knew the trees were tall, but seeing her dramatically underlined the fact.

Sometimes it is not so much what is there as who is looking. Or how we are looking. Or if we are willing to concede that we still have much to learn.

Ah, there is the real point. It is not that we are committed to immutable truths so much as that we are determined to hold on to our perception, our stake, our tradition, and the power that comes from being determiners of truth.

“If you have really known me, you will also know the Father,” Jesus told Philip in John 14. Yet so many 21st Century religious people turn away from the image of Jesus and manufacture a God made in their own image, a God who looks nothing like the description Paul offered in Philippians.

with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others. Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus:

 Though he was in the form of God,
        he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit.
 But he emptied himself
        by taking the form of a slave
        and by becoming like human beings.
When he found himself in the form of a human,
         he humbled himself…

Philippians 2:3-8

You already know how tangental my thinking can be sometimes. Wandering around outside my house, doing gardening and wondering about things like seeing, learning, scripture, God, the image of Jesus, and truth.

Other times I am more like Max, laying down on the deck to enjoy the fresh air and simply drinking it all in.

Peace – in every way – DEREK

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