Parting Shot


By Eric Mattson

Why the winners of photo contests are selected is something I enjoy trying to figure out. Once I asked one of the judges (whom we’ll call Judge 1) why the winning picture was picked. Judge 1 said, “because it uses ‘the rule of thirds’ so well, and it’s ‘tack sharp’.” My jaw must have dropped. The photo seemed boring and lifeless next to the honorable mention. I asked, “What? Where’s the vision; what’s the story? How does your eye move through the picture and where does it come to rest? What does looking at this picture do for you?” Blank stare, chirping crickets. Judge 1 finally answers, “But did you notice, you can see every blade of grass?” In our churches, meetings may move like Swiss clockworks, never a discouraging word heard, attendance levels holding up. But, is that enough? Where’s the vision? Where can we see evidence of the Holy Spirit blowing through the congregation? How is God’s kingdom coming to earth in this spot right now? The same can be asked of our personal life. What do you think Judge 1 might say about my picture shown here?