I remember getting a kaleidoscope one Christmas – I was five or six. I was dazzled by the colorful patterns and fascinated by the apparatus itself – a little tube with mirrors and multi-colored beads that toppled over one another to create new, endless patterns.
The word kaleidoscope is from the Greek words for beauty, form, and examination, hence the user becomes ‘an observer of beautiful forms.’
I was reminded of my kaleidoscope this morning as I walked along Compo Beach, dazzled by the colorful sunrise. The cold, crisp air contributes to the clarity of the colorful patterns bouncing off the early morning clouds – the rich blue of the sky provides a canvass for the display. I become an appreciative observer of those beautiful forms.
Every morning the sunrise display is different; the patterns depend on the low-lying clouds and the angle at which they are hit by the sun – and there’s hardly a morning without some scattered clouds to create a new, unique pattern. An overcast morning, though dull, only heightens the sense of appreciation for those sunlit mornings that throw a spectacular colorful display to dazzle the eye and spark the spirit. The earth is an ever-changing kaleidoscope we look at from a different angle every day. It’s a verb in which we are active participants as we move through the years, even if it sometimes feels like we’re just observers. We’re involved in Creation.
Just as the view along the shore is invigorating, so is the view from our pulpit. Indeed, it is kaleidoscopic, combining the ever-changing collection of faces with the scenery outside the sanctuary windows, and I become an even more appreciative participant and observer. Often I have a sense of making a personal, one-to-one connection with a pair of eyes and sometimes those eyes well up with tears and I turn away, wanting to respect the sense of privacy those moments deserve.
Every Sunday morning gathering in our sanctuary is unique: never has this exact group been gathered in this particular configuration. The view from the pulpit is kaleidoscopic.
One of the benefits of getting older (and there are some benefits) is the enhanced sense of appreciation for another sunrise on another day into which we carry memories of those with whom we once shared the day, the sunrise and the sunset.
Living with a chronic illness has its benefits, too. We have a heightened sense of appreciation for the day, gratitude for the people with whom we’ve made a meaningful connection so far, and the possibility of making more and deeper connections.
The sun is setting on another year, and soon it will rise on a new one. I hope you welcome it in good health and spirits, turning the kaleidoscope and creating a new pattern and being inspired and nourished by it.