Where are you looking?

As we come closer to the end of our Easter season, we can recall many post resurrection events from the gospels. The other day I had an interesting experience down by the dam. It was a very good reminder of not only where we look for Jesus but how even when we think we have him in our sight, we must always be prepared to look further. Luke’s version of the scene at the empty tomb comes to mind. You will recall the two men in dazzling clothes questioning the terrified women about where they are looking for Jesus. 

On the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb bringing the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, but on entering they could not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  And it happened that as they were perplexed at this, two men in dazzling clothes were suddenly standing beside them. They were terrified and bowed their heads to the ground as the men said to them, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has been raised up ! [Lk 24:1-6]

So I invite you to imagine yourself sitting on the far side of the dam with the bamboo grove to your left and the willow trees to your right. Take a few moments to recall when you might have spent time in this place on retreat. Relax, give your attention to your breathing, be at peace…Now, watch the short video clip and see what you notice. Try not to read ahead please!

At first you see two ducks sailing along. Then a water hen comes into the picture and decides to dive down looking for some food. As the little hen disappeared under the water, I was looking at the camera screen and had my eyes fixed on the spot where it had been,  waiting for it to resurface. I waited and waited, keeping my eyes on that general area, but no hen came up. It was close on a minute since the hen had dived down and I started to wonder how long these water birds could hold their breath. Eventually I thought this was all rather strange and then I noticed some movement to my right, closer to shore. I panned across and there she was!

I did feel rather silly. Here I was thinking the hen would come up right at the spot where it had dived down, but of course it would have had to look around and come up somewhere else. Just like the gospel story, Jesus was not going to stay in the tomb once he had been raised. He was on the move straight away, to ‘Galilee’, to the everyday places of life. When we become too focussed on one thing, we can easily get caught up in what we think should be happening. We forget that the Love that Jesus shows is, while particular and personal for each one of us, also has a bigger purpose. We need to keep our eyes on him certainly but when we start to know him, when we let him live more and more in us, then we have to widen our view, let our horizon expand, to see where he wants this Love to take us.

So that was a good lesson I thought - don’t become fixated, keep widening your view. There is always more to the Love that Jesus brings us. His Love is always beyond even our greatest expectations. Little did I know there was more to come……When I sat to watch the video and pen these lines of reflection, I was to be amazed again. This time as I watched the hen dive under the water, I kept my eyes on the widening ripples of water. It is always beautiful to watch these circles grow as when a stone is thrown into the water. And as the circles widened and I kept my focus on this widening, I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the little hen pop up on the far right side of the screen!! I had to laugh. She had been there all the time!

While these days we might be somewhat more accustomed to living in a time of pandemic, no doubt we have deep questions about all that is happening in our world. So where are you looking right now… for answers, for meaning, for understanding, for certainty, for love? Is the view you have of Jesus a static one, full of your own expectations, or are you learning to soften your gaze and be pleasantly surprised when little hens pop up from ‘left field’ or right!




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