The Rev. Dale Grandfield
Trinity, Easton and St. Paul’s, Cleveland Heights, OH
Teach Me my God and King:
The Hymnal 1982, #592
Have you ever tried taking a picture with your smartphone through the car window at night? Or through a window screen? It’s funny how the near or far focus makes all the difference in how the picture comes out. Fine details of the screen, or a reflection in the window, or a scene beyond…
In his original poem, George Herbert wrote a stanza that is not in our hymnal: “A man that looks on glass, on it may stay his eye; or if he pleaseth through it pass, and then the heaven espy.” A window’s glass can be a focus in itself, or, it can be a means to seeing out, beyond. So it is with everything, suggests Herbert. Such is this “Sacramental Universe”.
The trick is to allow God to train our inward eye to see everything as a nascent Means of Grace. Sure, it’s much easier to clamp down, stay nearsighted and keep fixated on the details. But everything is leaning toward God’s reality, everything is making pilgrimage. God is its source, God its ending; God the alchemist, God the Philosopher’s Stone; and we are privileged to behold, join with, and revel in it.
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