As I walked down the street, I noticed those sharing my sidewalk and marveled that they were able to move forward and still not lift their eyes from their hand held devices. Typing, reading, talking, they saw nothing of what they were passing. Needless to say, they also saw no one.
What were they missing? I don’t know since I was busy praying for them, especially those who looked worried, and I was also checking on the progress of the buildings shooting up around me. From day to day, the concrete landscape is changing and it is all I can do to keep up with it.
Then, at the office, when I read my favorite section of the TIMES, the Science section, I learned of a star that came into being in a collision 1900 years ago. Five hundred years ago it would have been visible from earth. Now the most powerful telescope science has has just captured pictures of it. I tried digesting that in terms of history.
The first collision occurred when the early Christians were gathering in house churches and John’s gospel was brand new. The star was visible when Henry VIII was just a young man. Today, our scientists are seeing the same star. I find that stunning as I tried to superimpose those three moments.
It is a matter of focus, isn’t it? The handheld device draws our eyes downward, the stars pull us to the heavens, and we are caught between the two extremes. Far too much goes by for us to concentrate on all of it. We have to choose where our focus will be, up, down or elsewhere. We have to choose, making sure that we have both earth and stars in our line of vision.
This is not a new dilemma. The psalmist had it centuries ago and Jesus let his eyes roam from the growing seed to the color of the sky. We of the shifting foci are in good company. We just need to be sure to take the time to look in both directions for the fullness of life.