The Second Gaze – Zoom In

This is one of those places where I see the intersection between photography and the spiritual life.  I have several different lenses for my main camera – two of them are zoom lenses and two are prime lenses (only one is pictured).  A prime lens is one that has a fixed “focal length” meaning that there’s no adjustment to “get closer.”  A zoom lens has an adjustment ring that allows the photographer to get a subject closer without physically moving.  Now a zoom lens is great for a photograph like this one that I took in South Africa in 2015.  I was nowhere near this close to this leopard (which is a good thing) but the awesome lens that I rented there got me this close.  

But you may have seen the correlation to the spiritual life in what I shared above.  A zoom lens allows a person to stay at a distance and not “get close” whereas a prime lens makes the photographer have to move to get the photo..  In the spiritual life, we are not called to stay at a distance and there’s no real “zoom lens” (or a shortcut) for a spiritual practice.  We have to get close and we have to practice.  And with others, the same call is there – We can’t fully love others in the way Jesus calls us without getting close and getting connected.  Yes there are things we can do at a distance but the true work happens when we are with others.  That’s the model of Jesus.  While he did send others out to share his message, it wasn’t because he wasn’t willing to get close.  Look at the stories of him touching those who were sick and being with those who were ignored or marginalized.  

A zoom lens is great for the times that it is really needed or is the only way to get a shot.  But a prime lens moves the photographer really in to what is happening.  (And a side benefit is that prime lenses often allow for better photographs).  

When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  

Matthew 8:1-3
Categories: The Second GazeTags: , , , , , , ,

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