“Having said this, she (Mary) turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.”- John 20:14
“If you’re scared that you don’t matter; if you’re lost and need to be found; if you’re looking for a Savior, all you gotta do is turn around.”- Matt Maher
I would estimate that I supervised approximately one thousand recesses during my twelve years teaching at Northwest Lutheran School in Milwaukee. Children had three play area options: the athletic field, the black top, or a fenced-in section with swings and a modern jungle gym. On this particular day, I had duty in the fenced-in section. Out of the blue, someone exclaimed, “There’s an owl in that tree!” Being an avid bird watcher, that was my cue to turn around. Near the top of the tree, completely unperturbed by the bustling activity below, perched a short-eared owl! It was a one in one thousand experience.
Had I not made the decision to turn around, I would have missed that one in a Northwest-lifetime opportunity. One brief moment produced a beautiful remembrance of God’s creation and His encompassing presence. Indeed, as author and pastor John Ortberg writes, God is present in this instant, offering to partner with us in whatever we face. Stephen Mansfield reasons that our soul must yearn for long-term righteousness rather than temporary methods to dull our pain. Human solutions fall far short. Our soul needs to be whole.
Singer/songwriter Matt Maher notes that when one of his guitar strings breaks, it affects not just itself, but also the whole guitar. It’s not enough to tune the replacement string, because the pitches of all the other strings have been altered. There’s a delicate balance at play between all the strings. Matt adds that we must turn away from anything that we make more important than God, taking stock of what direction we’re facing: “You don’t need to move, love has come to you, all you gotta do is turn around.” John Ortberg echoes Matt’s instrumental illustration:
“We are not meant to embrace moments, but to embrace God. Moments are not always good. God is never anything but good. Moments are simply the place where we meet him. Every moment. Starting now.”
Each moment of our lives can be a sacrament, a vehicle for God’s love and power (Jean Pierre de Caussade).