"Blessed Are The Pure In Heart . . ."
“. . . For they shall see God.”
“. . . For they shall see God.”
dpress.com/2009/02/eye-in-the-sky.jpg” alt=”This image was taken by Lee Eric Smith on the side of U.S. Hwy 78 between Memphis and Holly Springs, MS after an afternoon rainstorm. Other than adjustments for color and contrast, it has not been altered in any way.” width=”376″ height=”576″ />
That’s from Matthew 5:8, one of the legendary “Beatitudes” that make up the very beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on The Mount. I can’t help but think about that scripture whenever I look at this photo. Makes me think there’s something to this whole “A Message From God” thing.
So anyway, I’m on my way to Memphis from Holly Springs. At the time, I was like a lot of folks — trying to capitalize on real estate investments and such, buying houses with no money down, etc. Part of the strategy is to keep a camera with you to take photos of ugly houses. Mine was a little HP Photosmart 720 — at 2.1 megapixels, a good little point-n-shoot camera for 2003. Given what I’d see that day, I wish I had a better camera.
It had been raining, and the frustrated photographer in me likes to take photos of stunning sunsets. After a rainshower tends to produce great photos. I pulled over and started shooting some pictures of the western horizon.
Then I look over my shoulder, and I see THIS.
My first reaction: “Hey! I see you!”
Second reaction: Start shooting photos. Now, this is where the limitations of my camera come in. I only had 2.1 megapixels on the camera, but I wanted to zoom. After the camera zoom didn’t get close enough, I ended up using the digital zoom, which gets closer but you lose some of the clarity of the photo. Which is a long way of saying that what I saw was A LOT clearer than what you see in this image.
And what did I see? Well, this is where you get into the whole faith thing. For the sake of perspective, I’ve generally felt connected to God throughout my whole life. As a kid, I remember cloudy days when I’d go outside and within a few seconds, it seemed the clouds passed and the sun came shining through. Natural phenomenon or divine communication? Who says it can’t be both? Does that make me a delusional child who grew into a delusional adult? Who knows? I’m just telling you how I felt as a child — and still feel as an adult.
Through other times in my life, particularly troubling times, I’ve had a number of experiences of God that made me feel VERY much like God was speaking to me — to the point of not even feeling weird about it. I’m aware that some believers would even scoff at this, but isn’t that the whole point? To feel like God is right there with you, talking to you, revealing Himself to you?
So when I looked up into the sky and saw what I saw, OF COURSE I feel like I was seeing the Face of God. Why wouldn’t I?
I’m fully aware that different people will see different things in this image. I’ve heard people say they see a puppy; others see nothing. In what I find particularly interesting, some people who have seen this photo see a face — but NOT the same face that inspired me to take the picture.
To me, it’s a perfect metaphor for this entire project. Is that REALLY God’s face in the photo? Is the book REALLY “A Message From God” as it claims to be, or is it the ramblings of religious nutjob? There are no clear-cut answers to either of those questions. Ultimately, what it all means depends upon what possibilities you’re open to. That’s why they call it “faith.”
Me? I’m trying to keep a pure heart. I like feeling like I can actually see God. Makes me feel good.