What Do You See?

almond treeThe world is feeling especially crazy these days.  I won’t elaborate here because you know exactly what I’m talking about.  And in the throes of all this death – the death of institutions and social structures, not to mention innocents – what do you see?

(It’s the question God asks of the prophet Jeremiah in this one of this Sunday’s lectionary readings.  Jeremiah sees an almond tree and a tilted pot of boiling water.)

When I talk with anxious church folks, this is what they tell me they see:

  • Ghosts of loved ones past.  Memories of days when everybody went to church wearing their best clothes.  That good, old-time religion.
  • Empty pews. Uncommitted young families.  Buildings in need of serious maintenance.
  • Relationships with people they might never have known without the Church.  Conversations about what the community really needs.

What we see determines not only what a congregation is feeling, but it also impacts where a congregation is going.  What do you see?  Does it make us sad or excited or wistful or angry?

Do we get excited about seeing diverse people in our neighborhood?  Do we get excited when someone wants to try new forms of worship?  Do we feel inspired when we (finally) discern what God is calling our church to offer in our particular communities?

Do we see opportunity or crises?

Do we see the future or the past?

Jeremiah saw something  blooming and something boiling – both symbols that Something Was Happening.

What do you see?  And why?  (It’s a real question.)

Image of an almond tree in bloom.

One response to “What Do You See?

  1. I once preached a Epiphany sermon entitled ‘Do You See What I See?’ Inviting the congregation to ‘see’ and name things such as you are suggesting. And then me naming all the good things that God was doing in our faith community. Unfortunately, that congregation could never ‘see’ what good things God was still up to, they only saw empty pews and unfamiliar faces. Actually, I don’t think they saw the unfamiliar faces. And they closed. It still saddens me.


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