A short walk around the block can be refreshing. Over the lunch hour today, I took a slow stroll around block, specifically meditating on "whatever is lovely". I sought to be intentional about considering those things that seemed lovely. The warm Spring air, the breeze on my face, the blue sky with sparse clouds, and even the throaty call of a crow were beautiful.
Despite looking for beauty, I also observed many things that marred the beauty--discarded soda bottles, the final traces of melting snow stained like crude oil, the smell of cigarette smoke--each a sign of disrupted beauty. I was also acutely aware of my smart phone in my pocket, a misnomer if their ever was one, beckoning me to check my Facebook page. I refused its call.
As soon as I re-entered the building, though, I quickly retrieved my phone. Facebook. Twitter. Email. All things that must be checked. Twenty steps from my office, I heard someone comment that I was stuck up...or something similarly pejorative. If I am honest, I don't actually recall what she said. I looked up to see two friends of mine sitting on a bench in the hallway. Admittedly, I did not even see them sitting there. My behavior and her comment-offered-in-jest were eye opening. She was, of course, right. In my deliberate effort to step outside and appreciate my surroundings, I quickly reverted to something less lovely.
I was reminded that we often exchange real people for status notifications on a three inch screen. We exchange lovingly prepared cuisine for prepackaged monochromatic food products. We exchange marital intimacy for lewd, pornographic images. We exchange a never ending, never repeated three dimensional universe that features every shade in the color spectrum for a flat, lifeless television show, often that we've seen before.
How often do we do the same thing with God? We each have a script of Who God is, but that script contains our edits. His inspired Word gives us glimpses of His steadfast love, His glory, His mercy, His Holiness, His tenderness. Glimpses. One day, we will see much more clearly (1 Corinthians 13:12), but now we have just hints, but even those are subject to our editing. We correct who we think God should be and in doing so, flatten the picture.