The power of perspective. That’s what I am thinking about today. That is what I am praying for in this season of discontinuity. That is what feels both imminent and illusive sometimes within the same day, or even the same hour. What is perspective? Simply put: the ability to reframe a situation- to adjust our relationship or attitude or understanding of something or someone or even a thought or feeling. Another way to put it may be to say- perspective is the ability to take a step out of living from the center of our lives and instead, noticing the world from a different point of view.
Some of you know I am a very fledging and intermittent iconography. In 2011, after years of admiring this ancient art form I accepted an invitation to attend my first week-long retreat outside of Chicago Illinois led by the iconographer, Kathy Sievers, who would become my friend and teacher in the years that followed. I would return to that same place each year for the next 4 and spend a week that granted me the gift of perspective in a way I otherwise would never know.
It was a time set apart from the rest of my full life with a small group of fellow artists- all ages and levels of experience. The days were uncomplicated and holy. A fusion of making simple meals together, followed by Morning Prayers, some instructions and then the bulk of the day in silence working on our various projects. Every day offered a kind of stripped-down perspective; suspending the natural distractions of daily life and instead replacing our time with the freedom to sink into our work and whatever it mean to each of us, to be with God.
During my last retreat, in 2015 I began the icon that now sits on my drafting table here at home; 5 years later, unfinished and staring back at me, patiently waiting for my perspective to shift again and focus back on the work that waits for me when I am ready. It is an image of the Good Shepherd. An image I have wrestled with over the years often rejecting the notion that we must lose our differentiated selves in order to follow Jesus. And yet, as I have worked with and through this image for such an extended season, I am slowly starting to shift my perspective or relationship to that as well.
This Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Eastertide, is also known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” It will be a time for all of us to hear again the beautiful passages of scripture that invite us into various perspectives of that central metaphor. We will hear the familiar and often comforting words of the 23rd Psalm (as translated by Nan Merrill). Earlier this year Nate and I joined the choral scholars to offer yet a different perspective on those words when we sang Bobby McFerrin’s musical setting of Psalm 23 as well, which he wrote and dedicated to his mother.
So, regardless of your perspective, please come home this Sunday and tune in for our next iteration of Trinity@Home. We will come together first at 10:00 for worship via Facebook and then all are invited to stop by our virtual Coffee Hour via Zoom (link found on Trinity’s homepage; www.trinitytoledo.org)
I miss you all every day – that perspective never changes. What does change, through God’s love and patience is my willingness to let go of perfection, embrace the possibilities of each new day and be thankful for all of it- because we are never truly alone. For you and God’s grace I am eternally grateful.
May you never forget that you are loved.