The Discerning Photographer

"God has given you a spirit of discernment." - The Apostle Paul

After I posted a nice photograph I had taken of one of the waterfalls at Yosemite as the cover photo on my Facebook page this week, Chris Leahy remarked, “You have a good eye, and good luck!”  I have developed my photographer’s eye over the years, digital technology has made all of us better photographers, and yes- there is definitely some luck involved. I truly love coming around the bend of a trail with my camera on my hip, and realizing that I have wandered into something remarkable- a piercing shaft of light; the deep greenness in the leaves; perfect reflections of sky in water; clouds shaped like a thunderbird holding the moon between her wings. That kind of magic doesn’t happen often. You have to open wider to the “luck” and to train yourself to slow down and look for it- to teach your eyes, mind, and heart to see it.

 Photography also involves a lot of planning, and listening to the wisdom of those who have more experience on the journey; learning about what time of day the light is best, and what challenges will be faced photographing in various places and in various seasons. You also have to learn the technology- what your camera can and can’t do- what its gifts and limitations are. Most of all, you have to take pictures- lots and lots of pictures. And out of the thousands, upon thousands of pictures you will take, many will be useless, some will be just a little bit off. And many will be good and a few of them will be remarkable. The art and journey of photography- the getting to the remarkable- involves a lot of experimenting, slowing down, seeking, waiting, watching, choosing and deleting.

The art and journey of spiritual discernment is a lot like the art and journey of photography. The journey of spiritual discernment calls us to embrace life as a journey in the wilderness. On that journey, we are called to slow ourselves down and take a careful look at what is going on around us. We are called to listen to the wisdom of the Holy, to Jesus who has been on the wilderness journey, who knows the blind alleys and hard climbs, and who knows how to encounter darkness face to face- filled with authenticity and with the Holy Spirit.The journey of spiritual discernment calls us to reflect on our strengths and our weaknesses. It can be a time of watching and waiting. And it can be a time of choosing and deleting- a time to figure out what to hang onto and what to let go of so we have a better chance of rounding the bend and standing face to face with the remarkable- the magnificent and life changing presence of our Still-Speaking God.

I invite you during our Designated Term Spiritual journey to seek out the light, listen for the wisdom, and be open to encountering the Holy. As your Pastor/Photographer, I am forever hopeful about what we may encounter when we walk around the bend. May it be life-changing, may it be remarkable, and may it be the photo/experience of a lifetime.

See you on the journey. Much love and blessings, -Rev. Jeanne