Photography has become an engrossing hobby as well as a spiritual practice and a way in which to reflect on God’s world and ministry. It’s part of a spiritual practice of being present and aware of my surroundings.
I have driven by this abandoned barn just about every Sunday for the past six months on my way to and from leading worship at one of the churches I serve, but never stopped until last week. I have a love of abandoned buildings, they seem to hold an imprint of what took place and my imagination soars as to what they were like when they were in use. I wonder what the lives of the people who called these places home were like. I wonder what they experienced as they left a place for the last time. I admit that I can quickly get a creepy sensation with odd noises and a sense of isolation, even if only a few hundred yards from the road.
I was walking back to my car on the overgrown driveway and stopped to take a few pictures of some interesting looking growth on some bushes and off in the distance, I noticed a speck of bright orange. From a distance, I couldn’t tell what it was, in fact, wondered if it was a piece of garbage caught on a branch. I walked back up the driveway and stopped, but couldn’t see it! I retraced my footsteps to the place I saw it and there it was again!
This time, as I went back, I went a little further and discovered the burnt out foundation of a home.
Nothing really pretty about this, although I was entranced with the rusty coils of these bed springs.
And over on the far side of the house was this glorious poppy; this is what I had glimpsed from afar.
As an Interim Minister, I wondered: What else do we ignore or miss because we are caught in what we expect to see? What else are we blinded to because we are looking at it from the wrong angle? What else is waiting for us just a little further along a well trodden path? What hidden gems lie in the detritus of a once thriving space? That small scrap of brilliance against a monochrome landscape drew my eye and led me to beauty and resilience. The poppy tells a story of resurrection, hope and new life.
And that’s my window on God’s world.