Anyone that knows me will tell you that I love pictures. I love to take pictures, organize them, and attempt to capture every special moment. My obsession with photos became much more pronounced when we had kids. Mike had to develop film so often that he developed a friendship with the lady at the photo shop. He quickly realized that I needed a digital camera. I have since owned a few digital cameras. I adore these cameras because I can take hundreds of pictures a day in my attempts to fully capture the moment. I have tried in vain to capture Maria’s smile, Jacob’s stern look, or the perfect sunset.
I love pictures so much because a part of me is terrified that I will grow old and forget the small details of the past. I want to remember the feel of the ocean on my face, the smell of my granny’s biscuits, and the hum of the fan on a hot, steamy summer afternoon. Through my pictures, I hope to capture enough of each special moment to trigger the full memory.
The problem with my photos is that sometimes I spend so much time standing behind the lens of my camera, attempting to find the right lighting, trying to set up the perfect background, and observing the scene before me, that I fail to participate in the moment. I am often so focused on observing and analyzing the moment that I fail to become actively engaged in the moment of time that is unfolding around me.
Many of us live our lives like this. We stand back from life and analyze our environment. We judge the decisions and actions that others take and observe the activities around us. We know that if we stay behind the camera, we are safe. However, if we step out from behind the camera and begin to participate we may get hurt. If I spend my time taking pictures of the church members at the church picnic playing kickball I don’t have to worry about making a fool of myself due to my poor athletic abilities. If I spend time observing others in worship, I can safely ensure that I won’t get emotional or caught up in the spirit. If I simply analyze the relationships of those around me, I will never be hurt because I will never open myself up to true intimacy. If I simply read about the homeless and the hungry and the hurting in the news, I will not have to fear putting myself in danger, getting sick, or getting dirty.
God could have remained in Heaven and ruled over us from a distance. However, this is not the way of our God, who longed to have an intimate and true relationship with us. God did not remain safely detached behind a camera, but instead God sent Jesus to be an active participant in our world. Jesus touched the sick and fed the hungry. He risked being hurt when he formed relationships with his disciples. Jesus loved through action and experience.
If we are to be true followers of Christ, we cannot simply observe the world around us. We must be engaged participants in the world - acting out our faith as we love others.