Like many I was so pleased to be back in my place of worship last week. COVID in many ways has given us the opportunity to view our world differently. Like many I hope that this new view we were given will help us make our world a more caring, loving and gentle place. It starts, I believe, with how we view humanity and how we view the world.
As I sat in my place of worship last week my eyes were drawn to the windows. Unlike many of our churches these particular ones have no stained glass and there is a clear view to the outside world and vice versa. There is a central window above the altar. It is round in shape and gives a wonderful view of the trees and plants outside. It is a living window that changes with the seasons, showing sunshine, rain and snow and the changing colours of the trees. As I was sitting looking out the side windows I noticed folk going about their Sunday activities - walking, bike riding, spending time with their children - living out the hope they have for their families and their world.
Folk were going about their Sunday in a gentle, caring way. The sixties song by the Hollies came to mind: “Look through any window, what do you see?” Windows are a historic motif for looking out on the world or looking into what is happening inside. The eyes it is said are the windows to the soul. Store window (before the internet) and webpages were created to show people another world and what that world could be like, whether through fashion, appliances, toys or trips to faraway places. Clear uncluttered windows allow you to see the world with clarity and honestly.
Our perspective on what we see through a window is tempered by our spiritual formation, personal truths and beliefs. What I saw was a world where all creation lives in harmony; a world of beauty and loveliness, of kindness and gentleness; a world where hope can be seen through the windows by which we look; a humanity that has seen the effects of COVID and decided to change how it will live and act in the future, deciding it can no longer be life as usual, it can no longer be just normal.
Does our faith tradition give us a room with a view? A view which is unobstructed by bias and prejudice. A view of the world which is healthy, life giving and creative. A view which is imaginative and creative.
How does looking through a post-pandemic window affect our view of the world, our view of creation, our view of the other? Have our views changed after coming through the last months? How can we help others look through different windows - windows of opportunity, of hope, of peace, of creation care, of people of colour; Indigenous windows, post-colonial windows or reconciliation windows? Inviting us into the goodness of creation and a peaceful caring relationship with all living creatures.
The other view is equally as important, that is, when folk look into our world. What do people see looking into our world from outside? Does our faith allow or invite them to see the world in a different way? Do our windows invite others into another view of the world? Can they see in or are our curtains drawn, obscuring their view from the outside?
The questions therefore are: How clear are the windows we are looking through? How clear are the windows we are creating for others to see through?
Now retired, Bishop Logan McMenamie lives in Saanich and assists at the Anglican Parish of Central Saanich. He maintains his focus on First Nations Relationship, Reconciliation, peacemaking and multi faith work.
You can read more articles on our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking, HERE
* This article was published in the print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, July 31st, 2021