Sep 28 2011

Sacramental Eyes

I mentioned last week that I’m leading a study group through Philip Yancey’s book, Rumors of Another World.  The chapter we looked at this past Monday had a lot to say on the subject of “seeing Creation” so I thought I’d share some of its insights with you here today.  One of the things Yancey does in this chapter is encourage people to “make daily life sacramental.”  The word “sacrament” literally means to keep the sacred (sacra) in mind (mental).  Yancey says we are called “to seek a mindfulness—a mind full—of God’s presence in the world.”

Another insight I found intriguing comes in Yancey’s discussion of the importance of Creation in God’s revelation of Himself.  He quotes Meister Eckhart who said, “If the soul could have known God without the world, the world would never have been created.”  I had never thought of the necessity of Creation in this way.  Eckhart’s words, however, have other implications.  Yancey says “If I take seriously the sacred origin of this world, at the very least I must learn to treat it as God’s work of art, something that gave God enormous pleasure.”  Then he adds, “Clearly, modern society is not treating creation as God’s work of art.”

This morning I took five of my photographic prints downtown for an exhibit that will be held tomorrow night.  They are five of my favorite prints.  I’m excited that people will be able to view them at the Artisan Alliance of Pikeville/Pike County. I am hopeful that people will like what they see.  I hope they will also see in the images manifestations of God’s glory.   A part of me would be hurt if people did not like the pictures.  What would be even more disturbing would be if someone spit on them, marked on them, or in a fit of rage smashed them.  I can’t even imagine how upset I would be if something like this happened.

If I feel that way about my own art work, I can certainly see how God could be upset with us for the way we have treated His art work—Creation.  It has to hurt Him when we do not show admiration for His handiwork.  It must anger Him when we harm or destroy what He has made.  Surely we would all take better care of Creation if we stopped and considered how our actions affect God.  Surely we would take better care of Creation, and appreciate it more, if we learned to view it with sacramental eyes. 

I encourage you in the days to come “to make daily life sacramental.”  As you view the beauty of autumn remember that what you see is God’s handiwork.  Be open to ways that God may make Himself known to you through His art work.  Find ways to express your admiration for what you see.  Remember your calling to be good stewards of what He has shared with us.

–Chuck

(Above you will find three of the images that will be on display at the exhibit tomorrow night.  The top one is from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  The middle one is from Kingdom Come State Park here in Kentucky. The bottom one was taken at Dallas Divide in Colorado.)