Sometimes when I consider the enormous power behind the love I feel from God, I wonder how we humans can make such a mess of things. Admittedly, it’s hard not to make judgments about specific people and actions. Until I realize that I’m also one of those people. I know that I am blessed that I recognize God’s presence and that we are failing God, so I really don’t have any excuses for my behavior. What about you?
My best friend from high school is an artist. I still have an original watercolor painted by Eric when he was in high school hanging in our hallway at the parsonage. Cyndi and I stopped to visit Eric a couple of years ago at a store that he owns. When I reminded him about the painting, he was happy that I held onto it, but concerned that it was completed when he was very early in his career. I’m holding onto this original work whether his artwork becomes collectible or not.
Eric enjoys sharing what he knows about art, and he taught art in high school for several years after college. I remember when he encouraged me to express myself through drawing. He gave me a sketch pad and pencil and a few suggestions to get started. One of my drawings is a dock stretching out into Lake Erie. While my rendition of the actual dock is a poor version of the real thing, I had at least applied some of the shadowings that Eric taught me to do.
One of the keys to drawing a realistic illustration on paper is to create the illusion of three dimensions on 2-dimensional media. Paper has only height and width. Even thick paper is missing depth. Since our brains turn our field of vision into 3-dimensional images, an artist uses perspective to capture this third dimension, so we see depth as we look at their artwork.
In a drawing, perspective can focus our attention on the horizon, when the artist draws lines that converge towards a single point on the paper. A city street sketch can look as though we are looking down the road, even though there is no actual depth to the drawing.
Artists use multiple vantage points within the same drawing to create the illusion of looking down on the subject, up at the subject, or from a fishbowl view. Each perspective offers a new look at the subject matter.1
Nearly everybody knows a little about the story of Moses from the Christian bible. Moses is the one that God asked to lead a bunch of people out of slavery. This story is told in a book called Exodus. We learn a lot about Moses from his birth through death.
In one story, Moses sees this bush that’s on fire from a distance. It caught his attention. First, it was a bush ablaze in the wilderness. Since Moses didn’t start the fire, he was curious who did. But what really got his attention was that the bush wasn’t consumed by the blaze. “Bizarre,” thought Moses to himself. He wanted a closer look.
This is the idea of curiosity. Something catches our attention, and we want to take a closer look. We want to change our perspective. If we are an artist and want to share what we see with the world, we might draw what we see from more than one perspective. Up close and personal, and from further away.
Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground.
As Moses got closer to the bush, he heard a voice calling his name. Moses responded to the voice as he drew closer. Then he heard, “Don’t come any closer. Take off your sandals.” Like a friend who doesn’t want you wearing your shoes in their home, the bush’s voice insisted that Moses take off his sandals.
I don’t know about Moses, but I think that I would have my shoes off as quickly as possible. Anything that can create this sort of pyrotechnics in the middle of no-where is a force that you may not want to get impatient with you.
“You are standing on holy ground,” came the voice from within a burning bush. That’s all the explanation needed by Moses. And when the voice identifies as the God of Moses’ ancestors, he knew the reputation of this God.
I found a cartoon drawing by Donald Reilly that features a golfer getting advice from a burning bush on the golf course. This depiction shows a different perspective. An additional point of view. One that resonates with me as a result of my own story. There was a time when I played a lot of golf. I never saw a burning bush, but I encountered God.
What if this encounter of Moses is a metaphor? An invitation for you and me to come closer while realizing that the ground we stand on is holy. Whether we are on a golf course, a city street, or sitting in our favorite chair, God invites us to come closer and realize that each moment of our lives is lived on holy ground.
Perhaps it’s time for you and me to change our perspective. To move closer towards that idea that has our attention. And to listen for the voice of God calling our name. We are standing on holy ground, even if the ground we stand on is covered with glass and litter.
This month’s series is called Invited. We’re looking at some invitations that are helpful during this time of extreme anxiety. If you’re feeling stressed from the pandemic or for any other reason, this series is for you. You can read about our series in our newsletter or online. I pray that you will join us online or in person. Be aware that we follow social distancing practices without exception. Free face masks are available and must be worn in our building.
You can join us online via webinar, through Facebook live, or you can call (929) 436-2866 and enter the meeting number — 324 841 204. We go live at 10:30 am. You can find these links along with more information about us on our website at FlintAsbury.org.
A reminder that we publish this newsletter that we call the Circuit Rider each week. You can request this publication by email. Send a request to info@FlintAsbury.org or let us know when you send a message through our website. We post an archive of past editions on our website under the tab, Connect – choose Newsletters.
1 David Drazil!. “What type of perspective should you use?,” © Sketch like an architect, August 2, 2019.