Lent 14: Shifting perspective...

Jeremiah 31:31-34 

31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Back in 2010, with the permission of my husband, I bought a new camera, a Nikon D3000, a big boy camera, a grown up camera. I've always had a creative side, but I've also always struggled to best determine how to let that side show, how to nurture it. Music of some sort is often my first choice. This time, however, I wanted to give photography a chance. I wanted a new way of looking at the world. Better, I wanted a new way of showing others how I see the world.

These days, being so busy with school and internship I don't have many opportunities to take my camera "out for a spin." However, given my own experiences behind the lens, I've grown to appreciate other photographers. The picture above was taken by Arielle Fragassi. The following is her caption to the image:

Ansel Adams said "A good photograph is knowing where to stand." Use your feet today to zoom or get a unique perspective. For my "unique" perspective, I chose to capture the underside of a flower. Everyone always photographs the top, but the bottom can be just as pretty! Crouched down in the flowerbed and photographed upwards. The flowers were short, so with a DSLR, it was kind of difficult to get a good picture, but I like how the petals turned out on this one.

Sometimes to get the end result you desire, you have to do things differently. With photographers, it might be a different lens, a different filter, or simply getting down in the dirt for the shot you really want. For musicians, it might be new strings, reeds, or pedals, new chords or progressions. For writers, it might mean letting go of the comfort of writing in passive voice and learning how to exude confidence through active voice.

For YHWH, having the kind of relationship he desired with Israel would mean developing a new kind of covenant, one that was both corporate and communal but also individualistic and intimate. The covenant between suzerain and vassal wouldn't be written on stone or papyrus. It wouldn't be hung up in the literal temple. The temple would become God's people and God's covenant with them would be written on their hearts. Whatever gap formerly existed between God and God's people would no longer exist.

Talk about a shift in perspective...

Reading through the major (and minor) prophets of the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament for my non-seminary friends), it's amazing to see just how persistent God is about having relationship with God's people. They keep screwing up, falling short, and yet God perseveres. God seems to be willing to do whatever it takes to make Israel realize he's not giving up, he's not going anywhere. YHWH makes it known through the prophets that his love for Israel is truly infinite. It really is amazing, if only because it's such a novel idea for us—a world full of people seemingly willing to write each other off at the slightest mishap.

Imagine if our love for God, for each other, was that persistent, was that stubborn and hard-headed. Imagine how we'd treat each other, how we'd treat the world in which we live. Imagine if, like Ansel Adams said, we each knew where to stand, particularly where to stand in relationship to one another.

Imagine if we shifted perspectives...