Here are some ideas of how to use these reflections:
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
(1 Corinthians 13:12, The Message)
Recently, I’ve been taking more time to look at things close at hand, seeing the detail. A bird arrives in the garden and I remain still, noticing its shape and colour and its way of moving. Possibly I may identify it and feel the excitement of finding that it is a new visitor. This is an absorbing occupation and I feel blessed with the gift of vision, assisted sometimes by glasses or binoculars. Of course there are other ways of seeing. Using memory and imagination we can see again the events of the past, both joys and sorrows – and those things which hover between the two. Is there something you have been remembering lately?
The future of course is different. The Bible tells us of prophets who were able to foretell possible futures, to warn or to encourage. In the past, some people have thought that by looking into a crystal ball they would be able to see the future.
Indeed, in different cultures, a variety of divination methods have been used to foretell the future – accuracy not guaranteed.
At the moment, as we begin to see light at the end of the long Covid tunnel, we may find ourselves looking into the future with a variety of emotions.
What do you look forward to? You might make a list of the things you plan to appreciate. There may be aspects of the changes ahead which worry you. It’s a good idea to make a list of those too, so that you can be clear about what they are and pray about them. What have you learnt in the past months about coping with uncertainty?
Sometimes a person looking and thinking ahead can be called a visionary – a person able to hope, plan and envision ahead into a better future. It might seem over ambitious for we ourselves to be called visionaries but so many aspects of our former lives and priorities have been overturned that there might be space now to see ahead into positive change and into ways of keeping some valued lessons from the pandemic. Forming a picture of that future is a first step. Our Bible verse from Corinthians, with its more up to date slant on ‘seeing through a glass darkly’, reminds us not only about the quality of our own vision but also about how clearly God sees us.
If you wish to print the reflections, please click on the links below for the pdf documents: