Sheepscot Bay is just off the Maine coast. It’s part of the Atlantic Ocean and is much too large for an iPhone camera to contain. And yet every day, at beaches like this, we pull out our phones and cameras. We do our best to capture the sounds, the images, the perspective, the immensity, the moment.
I’m not mocking the effort. Far from it. The other day I was looking at the ocean, wanting to capture something. But even as I pulled out my phone, I wondered why I was doing it.
Am I trying to win photography contests? Am I trying to master the craft of the tool? Or am I simply trying to remember a moment? This moment, on this trip, with these people.
As Field Notes says of their journals, “I’m not writing this down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.”
I know that we want the songs in the book of Psalms to be huge, to be amazing poetry, to be The Bible. But there were people holding the pen, sitting on the hillside, working out the phrasing, looking at creation or pain or the ocean. They are bits of conversation with God. Small but necessary glimpses of a immense God.
The poet lays back in a field, looking up.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
We often sit down to pray, wondering about where to start with someone who apparently knows everything we are going to already say. May I suggest that in the way our photo efforts aren’t stopped by the size of the ocean, we simply start.
First published in November 2014.