The Vignette is a short sketch of a spiritual experience that has an often surprising, always lasting, impact.
My husband, Dan Shirley, and I were fortunate to travel to Scotland on the Christ Church Cathedral pilgrimage this past June. We spent quality time with old friends, and made many new friends as well. It was a time of quiet reflection in beautiful, historic places where the Christian faith began to flourish over 1,300 years ago. We were reminded of what it took for those Christian ancestors to tell the story of Christ. No matter how many times the messengers were defeated, their faith persevered.
Our trip was led by Bishop John Pritchard, who encouraged us to open our hearts and minds and simply “look”—look at what surrounds us daily and find God. We took inspiration from this one simple word—look. We returned home finding often small, yet profound examples of God’s constant hand in our daily lives, in our home, our marriage, our work, and our friendships. We have found that God has indeed surrounded us with people and gifts of abundant generosity. We are much more aware now and for that, we are grateful.
You don’t have to travel far to simply “look.” We challenge you to try this simple exercise for yourself. Look for the many examples of God’s generous handiwork going on within your own community. At our church home, we see tireless volunteers who spend hours giving their time and resources to make a better world for those less fortunate. We know clergy who will offer themselves at a moment’s notice to pray and comfort someone in crisis. We hear musicians who share their God-given talents so freely.
We felt God’s presence and generosity through the members of Christ Church Cathedral the moment we nervously stepped inside the church for our first Sunday worship. We continue to feel it today and see how our faith community feeds not only ourselves but also others, no matter where they are in their walk with Christ. The table is set and open to all. As Bishop Pritchard said at the Eucharist: “Come to this table not because you must, but because you may. Come not because you have all faith, but because you have some faith and want to grow in it. Come because you love the Lord a little, and want to love him more. Come because he loves you, and wants to give you everything. Come because all is ready, and we are his body.”
God led Dan and me to this beautiful, generous place, and now we will never forget to look.