Wednesday Weekly Devotional – April 29, 2020

Wednesday Weekly Devotional
by Pastor Sarah Winter

Maybe it’s the seminary student in me, but whenever I’m watching a movie or TV show or listening to a podcast, my radar is always on for the moment when my brain and heart connect and say “that’s preachable!” The moment when the world and the Word align in gleaming clarity as Holy Spirit blesses me with an “Ah-Ha” moment.

This happened the other day when my youngest daughter Quinn and I were watching Brain Games on Netflix. For those that haven’t seen this show, it’s described as “an examination of the human perception and how it can be fooled”. For me, it is a cornucopia of “Ah-Ha” moments and sermon examples that can carry me through the rest of my seminary career!

The very first episode involves a series of optical illusions involving the way that our brains process light and darkness, hi-lighting how past experiences can shadow the way that we perceive things. For example, they showed a computer image of a soccer ball in the forefront of the screen and a golf ball to the rear, asking which was larger. Our practical life experiences tell us that the soccer ball is of course larger than a golf ball, but as the balls are brought next to each other we see that the golf ball is actually the bigger image. Our brains are trained to make short cuts and assumptions about what we see which aren’t necessarily accurate, and we must rely on depth perception and perspective to give us the clear and true image.

It doesn’t take a master theologian to make the step from Brain Games to the Word in this situation, so many of you likely know where I’m taking this sermon illustration. I invite you to go along with me anyhow… maybe as you read, your past experiences will connect with my words for an “Ah-Ha” moment that you hadn’t expected.

There are parts of our brain that are hard-wired to process information and make presumptions before we even realize what is happening. For example, seeing certain body language can indicate that those we are watching are having an argument or, in the time of COVID, we can see someone walking along the sidewalk out of the corner of our eyes and instinctively take steps over to maintain 6’ separation. Our brain is highly attuned to motion around us, sometimes making the difference between danger and safety.

But there are times that without slowing down and being aware of our perspective, our past experiences can cast a dark shadow on what is actually happening, essentially blocking out the light. This can especially be true right now as we are all operating in unprecedented times, often in reactionary mode as circumstances change so quickly. We may allow the dark of the constant news coverage that is around us and fear that is present in us to color our views of where God is in what may feel like pure craziness.

But as Brain Games teaches us, color is an imperfect indicator of the world. Our past experiences and our perspective must be mixed in in order to reveal the actual truth. And as Christians, we have the knowledge of the past reminding us that throughout time God has been right there. He was there for Abraham and Sarah as they waited will into their 100’s to have children. He was there for the Israelites during the Exodus. He was there with Christ as he was being crucified on the cross. And He has been and always will be there for each of us in every moment of our lives, to wrap us in His arms and tell us that we are His beloved children whom He will always take care of.

We must not let the chaos of the world lead our brains to assumptions. Instead, we must slow down and rest in what we, as Christians, are so blessed to know as truth and allow this to shape our views of the world. That “for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)

May the true light of Christ color your perception of the world.

Amen.