Looking - Monday Musing, March 28, 2022
Looking. The act of directing the eyes toward something and perceiving it visually. This past Saturday I biked the Cape Cod Rail Trail. It was only the second time this season I have been out on the trail, this trip making it all the way to Wellfleet Hollow State Campground (my usual destination when I bike). I found myself cognizant of my surroundings. I have been trapped inside all winter spin cycling, so it was great being out on the trail again. Many times biking the trail, I find myself formulating my next musing, but today I looked to see what was new, what I had forgotten, what felt familiar. Of course, I enjoyed other senses as I navigated the trail – smelling the burning woodstoves, hearing the rustling leaves, and sensing a warm feeling of happiness as I biked – but this day, I paid close attention to what my eyes could see.
For those of us who have sight, seeing is an ordinary act that we take for granted. It comes naturally; we think nothing about it – that is, until our eyesight is gone. There are passages in scripture where people get into trouble for looking at something – Lot's wife who was turned into a pillar of salt for looking back to see the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as she and her family were fleeing (Gen 19:26) – but Jesus calls us to look: “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matt 6:26).
In the season of Lent, we are on a journey, reflecting on our past wrongs, praying for guidance, looking for God’s presence in our midst. In worship we have highlighted a “Visual Arts Moment,” giving us the opportunity to see the season of Lent unfolding before our very eyes. Have we been attentive, looking for God in our daily encounters – whether it be at the grocery store, talking with a friend on the telephone, or even biking the Cape Cod Rail Trail? We are just over halfway through Lent. There is still time to look for God’s presence in our midst.
My pace on the trail was not as brisk as it had been at the end of last season. Oh I suppose outdoor biking uses different muscles than indoor cycling, so I’m out of practice. But on any journey, doesn’t it take just a bit longer when we focus more on our surroundings instead of barreling straight ahead? Lent allows us to meander slowly as we navigate the journey, lingering a bit here and there to take it all in.
May we find ourselves in the ordinary act of looking during our Lenten journey, perceiving God’s extraordinary presence in our lives. See you in church!