(First published: September 30, 2007)
One of my passions is photography. I love the whole process--from that split second when you see a moment--or a shifting of light that must be captured--to experimenting with a photo to bring out its fullest beauty.
I often find that a detail that might otherwise be overlooked when considered as part of a greater whole, is revealed as exquisitely beautiful when the photo is cropped.
In the same way, a detail of significance in scripture can be easily "read past."
The "greater whole" of scripture is essential to consider, but there is a special blessing in focusing in on a passage and allowing God, through the Holy Spirit, to speak through it, revealing a significant truth, or rich depth of meaning that I had not seen before.
Recently God spoke through several verses about being an example, or following an example. I thought of Jesus saying, "Do this in remembrance of me," Luke 22:19 as he distributed the bread and the wine of the Passover.
In September 29th's Daily Light these verses were included:
John 13:14-15 (New International Version)
14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
1 Peter 2:21 (New International Version)
21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
John 5:19 (New International Version) Also quoted in the Daily Light reading, says that,
"the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does."
And John 13:7 says, in part:
Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
Jesus was rightly called Teacher and Rabbi. He was a master teacher, using story telling and questions to elicit learning. Today I ponder his use of example--his method of "show and tell," and his direction to us to then "do" what we have seen.
In examining the integrity of my faith, I look back to the gospel taught by Christ and become more aware of how we have adapted the Gospel to our culture. We can so easily lose the raw radicalism of Jesus' teaching.
His example is the only one I want to follow. Oh to be able to say, as confidently as the apostle Paul, "Therefore I urge you to imitate me, " 1 Corinthians 4:16, and verse 17, "my way of life in Christ Jesus...agrees with what I teach."
Today I was reading Matthew 22 and 23, in which Jesus chastises the Pharisees, scathingly. They held themselves high as the "teachers of the law," and yet they were the antithesis of Jesus' teaching of living by example. They wielded control, power and condemnation. Their standards were impossible for even themselves to attain, and inwardly their hearts were as far from God as you could get. I fall somewhere in between these two polar opposites on any given day. How I seek the way of Jesus.