Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin, yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his grandeur was clothed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today yet tomorrow is thrown on to the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? [Matthew 6:26, 28-30]
I know that normally at this time of year we would be thinking about harvest festivals and gathering together for harvest meals, but this year the weeks are blurring into one long space of time. But even sitting here in my office at the Manse I can see the year changing. The trees are starting to change colour where the sun catches them and the flowers in the garden and at the allotment are putting on all their glory. Ted is bringing home sacks of potatoes, onions, beans and beetroot and the freezer is overflowing. And sadly, perhaps this year more than most, we miss seeing God’s bounty in all its beauty.
It is a bit like those 3D “Magic Eye” pictures that were all the rage. Open any paper or magazine and you would be confronted with a curious pattern of dots and colours, which, we were told, would reveal a wonderful three-dimensional image – if you could see it, of course. Mostly people squinted and closed one eye or another and still couldn’t see anything. But there would always be one person who could see the picture clearly every time.
And that is the thing about sight – we don’t all see things in the same way. An old saying puts it well: “Two men looked out through prison bars; one saw mud, the other saw stars”. I like that. Where one sees ugliness, another sees beauty. Where one sees despair, the other sees hope – and sometimes we just need to look at things a little differently.
I think that is what Jesus was trying to say to the crowd gathered to hear him: try and look properly at the ordinary things in life – something as commonplace as a flower spotted in your walk around the War Memorial Park or a bird sitting on your garden fence – and you will see God’s hand behind it. To the eye of faith, life takes on a completely new dimension, speaking not just of the beauty of this world but also of the loving purposes of God. Let our prayers each day be that He might open our eyes to glimpse a little more clearly his presence all around us.
God bless and keep safe.