Noticings – September 27, 2023

“It all depends on your lens.”

If you only knew me from Sunday worship, or the video version of Noticings, you might not know that I wear glasses. I need them for distance, not for reading. Usually, I have them on when I’m out and about in the world. When I go grocery shopping I’m constantly flipping them up onto my forehead so I can read the labels. (Yes, I tried progressives. Hated them.) Why am I telling you about my grocery hunting habits? Because it’s a great metaphor for reading the bible.

This Sunday we’ll be exploring Psalm 104. It’s a glorious piece of poetic writing filled with fantastically wonderful images, until the last verse. Suddenly, out of the blue, it offers a theological landmine. The Lectionary (a calendar of suggested readings), when it proposes Psalm 104, always chooses to leave that verse out rather than deal with it. It’s too fraught for delicate church-goers, I guess.

I love the verse! It all depends on what lens you use to read it with. And now we’re back to the grocery store. In order to see the details on packaging, I have to remove the lenses I usually experience the world with. I have to take off the perfectly good filters that help me navigate the world, and use an appropriate lens to read the label. In other words, the lens you use makes all the difference!

If you come to the bible with a ‘worldly’ lens, or one that sees God as an authoritarian, or Jesus as a moralist, then that’s what the bible will give you. But if you come with a lens that starts and ends with a rock solid conviction that God is love, and God can only and always love, then guess what the bible will give you? Yup. Love! Every time. It all depends on your lens! (Hey, that’d make a great meme for the interwebs!)

So, tune in on Sunday and experience the love of the infamous verse 35! And ask yourself: What lens am I using to view God through? What lens am I using to see my neighbour through? I hope your lens is love. It’s not a rose-coloured filter that makes you into a Pollyanna. It’s a love-centred clarity, that lets you perceive, and receive, God’s Kingdom. In the end, friends, it all depends on your lens.

(Click here for a video version of Noticings)