A Place at the Table – 24 – Rule of Thirds

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God, there are days when we can do nothing but sing, jump, shout, and magnify Your name. Times when it is clear that our spirit is energized by You, and our lives are in the flow of Your love. Yet we confess those other days, God, when something different happens— we aren’t centered on You, we’ve let too much time go by without checking in fully, and we’ve lost direction. It is in these times that we degrade ourselves by making harsh judgments on the people we are supposed to love. God, we need Your help here. Send us a messenger, use our friends to prompt us to make an about-face and mend the gap between our spirit and Your Holy Spirit so that we will again be grateful— thankful for our lives, the things You have both given and taken from us, for ups and downs, but mostly for our closeness to You through the life, death, and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for our daily food. Thank You for clean water. Thank You for surrounding us with friends. Thank You. Amen.

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Seay shared today about where we put our focus. In relating the story of Miriam and Aaron from Numbers 12 where they seem to move to focusing on getting some of the attention that was focused upon Moses. A pretty human response. We have all done it when others seem to get all the focus and attention. Seay moves the focus here to how we keep God at the center – gratitude. I love the line he shares, “I know in my life that only prayer, worship, and service have the capacity to turn my bitterness into gratitude.”

As I read this devotion today and the prayer, I went to a photographic technique that I cared about as I started digging into photography more – the rule of thirds. Basically it is that you take a picture and divide it into 9 squares – two rows and 3 columns (if you are using a landscape picture). Basically, the ideal is to have the most important part of your picture at the intersection of one of those lines – meaning it might not be at the center of the picture, but off to the side and allowing the wider picture to emerge. The temptation is to try to always have the person or the mountain or the flower at the center of the image. However, a more powerful image comes where the focus comes along one of those intersections. In the picture I used today, two of my kids fall right at one of the intersections – they are the focus of the picture, but the larger environment is a key part of the picture as well. The contrast between the young kids and the larger mountain behind and the hill in the foreground tells more of a story than just the kids on the hill.

Yes we are to keep God at the center, but maybe more at the core intersections of our lives so that we can see and experience the ways that our relationship with God impacts and ties into the whole of the stories of our lives and the world. The rule of thirds for our lives and not just for photography.

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