Catching a glimpse of something is part of our human experience. My hunch is that each of us have had glimpses of the terrible and wonderful in our lives. Once in a while, perhaps we even catch a glimpse of how things should be in this world.
Like parents at a playground with no phone in sight pushing their girl on a swing. Or a couple speaking words of understanding and compassion finally forgiving each other for hurts long held within. Or a deep depression lifting following years of despair. Or a one year anniversary of having had the last glass of scotch.
There is a great tune from the country singer Lee Ann Womack titled, “There is a God.” Here are some excerpts. “Try and put your arms around a 100 year old tree. Climb up on a horse and let it run full speed. Watch a flock of birds against the morning sun. Close your eyes and listen to the river run. Catch a firefly in your hand or a raindrop on your tongue. Plant a seed and see what comes out of the ground. Find the heartbeat on your baby’s ultrasound. Hear the doctor say he can’t explain it, but the cancer is gone.”
While there is more, these lyrics express not only the presence of God, but they give us a glimpse of how things should be, should always be. Once in a while, if we pay attention, we get glimpses of the good, the right, the just, the peaceful, and the loving. When Jesus walked the dirt roads of Israel, he too gave us glimpses of how things should be.
I invite you to immerse yourself in Jesus’ words in the Gospels, teaching such as, “Love your enemies; forgive everyone; when you lose yourself, you find yourself; let go of power and ego; treat others as you want to be treated; what matters most is where you heart is; nobody is better than anybody else; real wealth is a life grounded upon a relationship with God; give all your burdens to God; do not fear…”
Jesus said and taught so much more, and if we listen, really attend to Jesus’ words, they all reflect how things should be. But in the midst of all that is right, we live in an era in which there is extreme division, contentiousness, hostility, and ugliness. As Jesus followers, we should never enflame, encourage, or intentionally participate in such things. All of this, I believe, is an invitation to ask ourselves, “How am I to live as a Christian right now in the midst of it all?”
Perhaps what we are called to do in our good and bad and certainly divided culture, is to give everyone around us a glimpse of what things are supposed to look like through our words, our actions, our silences, and our inactions. Maybe we are to tend to our hearts, first and foremost, so they don’t become hardened or harsh or critical or mean or venomous or divisive or reactive or paranoid, but rather so they become more and more like the heart of Jesus.
Could it be that the rubber-meets-the-road point of this is to understand that we are in a tough rough world and that has been the case since the beginning. To know that while this is the case, there is a point to our journey, meaning to being alive at this time, and a purpose to which we are each called. That one purpose we each share is to give people around us glimpses of how things should be and will be when it is all said and done.
So how do we give people glimpses of how things should and will be one day? I believe we have to keep our eyes on Jesus, internalize his teachings, however imperfectly we do so, and be intentional about how we show up in the world each day. We need to act, sometimes not react, speak up, sometimes hold our tongues, and take an honest look at what our lives are giving people a glimpse of.
If we are giving people glimpses of how things should be and will be one day, then the essence of who we are and how we show up will reflect joy, peace, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, self-control, and love. It means our lives will not be full of conceit or envy or anger or judgmentalness or division or put downs. It means our lives and actions and words will reflect Jesus and all he taught and said.
So I leave us with some questions today. Questions we can only answer for ourselves. Here are those questions. Does my life and how I show up give people a glimpse of Jesus? Does my life and who I am give people a glimpse of how things should be and will be when it is all said and done? Fundamentally, does my life give people a glimpse of the love of God?
Hard questions, yes. Essential to think about if we want to take our walk with Jesus seriously, without a doubt. Certainly this gives us much to think and pray about and ultimately act upon. And I believe giving others a glimpse of Jesus will change everything, one person at a time.