In the Lectionary

September 5, Ordinary 23B (James 2:1–17)

Proclaiming God’s abundance or dwelling in perceived scarcity?

A dear friend of mine always carried a camera with him. Sometimes two. These were high-quality, professional-grade devices with large, specialized lenses. Periodically he would abruptly snap a camera up to his face and take a shot of something that caught his eye.

I wondered what he saw, and I was drawn into his experience of seeing. He was looking at the world, wanting to capture its humane moments and its striking images. Because back then he was shooting on film, the cameras had no screen to preview the images, so I had to imagine what he was seeing. His trained eye saw things that mine didn’t.

He would talk passionately about photographers who influenced him and how they had shaped his visual sensibilities. He spoke lovingly about working in the darkroom, dodging and burning to bring out the desired effect. I learned so much about seeing and about creativity from him.