So there has been so many lessons that I have learned since social distancing began. One of the things that I have learned is that I do not like staring at myself as I preach and run worship. I find it very distracting. I have become very aware of my own sensitivities because of Zoom worship. I have to stop myself from constantly trying to fix my hair. My mind wanders to such thoughts as: “Hmmm… is that the way my hair really looks? Man I am pale. I need some more sun. Oh look at those bags under my eyes. Well Isaac was up a lot last night. Hmmm … I could stand to lose a few more pounds. Oh I can see right in my mouth when I sing. Oh no I am moving too much, make a mental note”. Now I find myself staring into my own eyes while I am preaching which also is a very unnatural and weird experience.
However, while thinking about all these thoughts going through my mind during worship, I have realized something. All of these thoughts are negative and self-harmful and not appropriate for a day that is supposed to be dedicated to the worship of God. A God who made man and woman in his image and said that it was good. Who am I to focus on tearing down what God has deemed good especially on a day when I am supposed to be focused on praising God, praying, seeking his wisdom, and giving thanks for that wonders that God has created and given to humanity.
This experience of Zoom worship has given me an opportunity to work on my own self-image issues that I have had since I was a young girl. It has made me reflect and seek out a higher wisdom, a higher understanding, and greater love for all of God’s creation. Jimi Hendrix aptly reminded humanity, “Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens”. It forced me to stop focusing on the visual, to stop focusing on the surface and to start thinking deeper, to learn how to refocus my mind on listening and searching for the inspiration of God even with some very obvious distractions.
God is giving us all a challenge to accept what he has deemed to be good and to look inward towards finding his inspiration in that which he has made in his own image. We are encouraged to let the superficial fall away to live into the work that truly matters. We are called to look at life and one another with the holy in mind. J. Philip Newell has reminded us of a Celtic tradition that sums up this stripping away of the superficial to truly live in the light of God when he wrote, “The Celtic tradition invites us to look with the inner eye. In all people, in all places, in every created thing that light of God is shining”.
God’s light shines forth from all of God’s creation, evidence of the hand of God still at work. His light shines in each of us. So allow for it to build you up, allow for it to shed those superficial concerns and focuses in life, and allow for it to build a love for all of God’s creation including ourselves. Let us take care of that Creation with a tenderness and love just as God commanded us to do. Let us allow respect for all of creation allow for us to cut through the stress and pain of the world to see the light of Creation still at work and let us honor it by lifting it up for all people to see. Let us honor it by caring for self and others as members of the same creation that is utterly cherished by God.
So when you are fussing over your hair, lack of haircut, weight lose, exercise, those little laugh lines that show the life you have lived or any else that is superficial remember the words from Genesis, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth’. … And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good”. God created everything and has already determined that it is good. So let us refocus our energies and attentions upon caring and loving all of God’s creation as he commanded us to. Let us take up the mission given to humanity from the very beginning of time and share the love of the holy by compassionately tending to God’s creation. With a new focus in life, we will learn to love more freely, and will begin to connect with God as we open our mind’s eye more broadly to the world around us.
So set aside the frivolous thoughts of this life and take up the practice of loving and caring more freely. Pray to God and seek out his wisdom to guide us in this mission and discover exactly how God plans to use your gifts and your talents to fulfill this commandment. Then go forth and dedicate your passion and energies to living fully into God’s inspiration in your life.
 Jimi Hendrix, 20th century American musician.
 J. Philip Newell, 21st century Poet, peacemaker, and minister.
 Genesis 1:26-28, 31, RSV.
(Based on Genesis 1:1-2:4a)