Better than Perfect? – Look, See, Pray

My chosen photograph is a perfect moment frozen in time.  One of those moments where the place and the season combine and the photograph surpasses the sum of its parts. It is my favourite shot of my favourite bluebell wood; it evokes the memory of a quiet early morning with a slight mist- and an absence of any distracting person. This moment is kept for me in my inner vault of holy moments.

Technically, the photo was good enough to be chosen by a photography magazine’s website as the cover picture for a whole month. Composition, colour, light- all come together to catch reality… it’s just about perfect. I am, of course, biased! More than a picture, it is a solidified memory: every time I see it, my mind and heart are transported back to that wonderful morning and a sense of the numinous presence of God.

A perfect photo of a perfect morning in a perfect beech-wood with perfect bluebells. Is there anything better than that? Can anything be “Better than Perfect?”

The verses from Psalm 73 (below) were forwarded by a colleague, a pastor-preacher who has terminal cancer. He does not know the number of days or months he has left: he has served faithfully, and it is nearly time for his reward. What he knows with assurance is that Christian faith describes a Truth and a Love better than anything this wonderful world contains or can offer.

“Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.”
Psalm 73:25-26

Dockey Wood bluebell Spring14 StarlingR

It is humbling to recognise the faith of a believer who will shortly embrace an eternity that is better than the perfection of any earth-bound lifetime.  Such faith rings very true for me since my own encounter with cancer- facing your own mortality does focus the attention rather thoroughly!  My cancer has been successfully treated, but I still don’t know the length of life that remains to me. Long or short, in sickness or in health, God is and must still be the “strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

God is not limited as this physical realm is limited.

The Creating, Sustaining and Redeeming God still holds this Universe in His hands. Even the most Perfect moments, places, and people cannot compare to the absolute Existence of the Lord Almighty- and He stills seeks to reconcile all things to Himself.

Perfect moments are precious and should be celebrated.  Good theology explains that God is even Better than such perfection.  Better still, Christian faith is the experience of the Presence in THIS lifetime which is just the beginning, the Prelude, to an Eternity of true Love where all our questions, sicknesses, successes & failures will be transformed into that Perfect Perfection, the “shalom wholeness” of life that has always been God’s desire for us, His children.

I wonder… will there be bluebells?


Photograph (c) Richard I. Starling, 2016. All rights reserved.

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