In her book Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, Lauren Winner writes,
“Some days I am not sure if my faith is riddled with doubt, or whether, graciously, my doubt is riddled with faith. And yet I continue to live in a world I know to be enchanted, and not left alone. I doubt; I am uncertain; I am restless, prone to wander. And yet glimmers of holy keep interrupting my gaze.”
I was introduced to this quote recently by a friend, and it has stuck with me. To be sure, it is loaded with theological meaning. Living in an enchanted world. A world not left alone. The human tendency to wander. Glimmers of holy that keep interrupting my gaze.
The last statement is what most captured my attention. This is the work of Christ that we see repeatedly in the gospel narrative. Clearly, this is what Jesus is up to when he encounters the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:1-30.
The woman at the well was certainly stuck in a “gaze.” She could not understand why Jesus, a Jew, would talk to her, a Samaritan woman, and ask her for a drink. The woman had experienced significant brokenness and uncertainty in her marital relationships. She was committed to the traditions of worship valued by past generations. She believed Jesus was a prophet and that one day the real Messiah would come and tell us all things.
Then, Jesus offers a glimmer of holiness that interrupts her gaze. Jesus declares, “I who speak to you am He.” In response, the woman leaves her jar at the well and runs to town questioning out loud if she indeed had just met the Christ. The woman’s gaze had been interrupted by a glimmer of holiness.
I suppose the quote by Lauren Winner and the accompanying story of Jesus’ interaction with the woman at the well stood out to me because I often experience being stuck in a gaze. My empty gaze might not be due to cultural norms of oppression or broken marital relationships. However, it can most certainly be attributed to busyness and misplaced priorities. I know that I am not alone in this. In the midst of busy family life it is easy for our gaze to be stuck on lesser things. Thankfully, Jesus often offers glimmers of holiness to interrupt.
It is our hope that God will use our work at Laity Lodge Family Camp as an interrupting glimmer of holiness in the lives of families. It is our hope we will all be interrupted by the glimmer of holiness that is Christ in our daily lives as well.
Questions to consider:
- What is it that usually captures your gaze? What do you find yourself giving inordinate amounts of thought or attention to that really are not that “important”?
- Have you ever had a glimmer of holiness interrupt your gaze? If so, how?>
- If you could have Christ interrupt your gaze, much like he did for the woman at the well, how would you hope he would interrupt you?
Cary Hendricks – LLFC Senior Director