Missing Colors

When traveling around to different parts of the world, I love to visit churches. I’ve been lucky to have seen all kinds, from tiny, unadorned chapels to massive, majestic basilicas. I always wonder about the people who worship in these spaces regularly. Do they see the amazing beauty and uniqueness of their home worship space? Or have they grown accustomed to it, fail to appreciate it, unable to see their surroundings with fresh eyes?  

To some extent, I’m afraid I’ve done that with my home sanctuary at FUMC Hurst. Although I believe that it is one of the most beautiful worship spaces around, I often walk through oblivious to the stunning stained-glass image of Jesus that immediately commanded my attention when I first saw it. All too often working in the room, I don’t notice the way the sun shines directly on the altar at a certain time in the morning or how the darkness of night turns the Jesus window into shadowy shades of deep, dark blue. I know that it is a powerful space—a sacred space—whether full of people or completely empty. But most of the time, I’m in too much of a hurry to notice.  

However, that changed for me recently. Since the first Sunday in 2023, I have participated in a brief service of Communion and Prayer on Sunday mornings in our sanctuary. It has been good to stop, sit in the quiet and gaze up at the Jesus window before going off to join a group, go to Community Time or teach a class.  

The other morning, having received communion, I was sitting looking up at Jesus for the umpteenth time when I discovered something new in the window I’d never noticed before—olive green. I thought I knew all the colors in that window—the emerald green of the grass under Jesus’ feet, the vibrant red of his stole, the bright orange planets and yellow sun—I thought I knew this window that I’ve looked at literally for years. And, yet I never noticed the olive green!! How can something so familiar continue to surprise me? But it did! Olive green!  

It occurs to me that I’m that way about a lot of things (I know, we probably all are). How often do I say, “Oh, I know that story from the Bible. I don’t need to read it again.” And when I do, I’m totally surprised by a detail or a word that I’d missed the first 30 times I read it. How often do I think that I know everything there is to know about another person and then am totally shocked when I learn something new about them— “You like sauerkraut? How did I not know that?” I fear I do the same with God.  

Missing the olive green has made me wonder about the things in life that are worth exploring over time, being curious about over time, appreciating over time. Maybe I need to stop, sit and gaze more often. Maybe you do too.  

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