weapons of mass distraction

I recently read about a single mother who received a four month driving suspension for distracted driving; talking on her phone while driving, two incidences three weeks apart. But because of the restrictions in place due to the pandemic, her suspension will not start yet, leaving her with the ability to drive to the grocery store and pharmacy 20 minutes drive away.

Distracted driving. I find it curious that someone can be fined for this since I have been doing it all my life. Distracted by some great tunes leading to some in-seat dancing, singing and acceleration, a pull over by local police and a ticket. Distracted by infants, children and constant bickering in the back seat. Distracted by my husband pointing out flocks of geese, deer, elk and anything else outside the vehicle while I’m trying to keep my gaze forward. Distracted by my own thoughts as I gaze at the endless roadway lulling me to sleep, or as I blindly scan road and building signs, frantically trying to get off the main road in order to reach my destination. Damn you, Google maps!

Distracted driving is just one small part of distracted living. There is so many distractions around me, it’s a wonder I am ever able to accomplish anything! But like the woman above, the penalty for distracted living has been lifted for time. I now live in world where my distractions are reduced, giving me the opportunity to rediscover the important things while trying my best not to find new distractions.

When this time of shut-in started, I was already registered in an on-line New Testament course. This has proven to be a blessing. For a couple of hours a day, the course keeps me focused on life. Not the life of endless pandemic reports and streaming TV shows, but real life, the one where I will spend in eternity.

Unfortunately, the course will soon end and I will have only my self-motivation to keep me on spiritual track. Without weekly assignments, how can I keep my eyes on Christ and prepare for my own death in this life, whether it’s to be soon during this pandemic or decades later? The Lord has given me this time on earth to prepare for my life in eternity and right now, during this pandemic, so many distractions have been removed from my life, I have to resist replacing them with others.

Playing games and talking on the phone can strengthen my connections to others. Watching shows and reading books can provide an escape from endless bad news. But, ultimately, what I need to do is strengthen my connection with God and I can only do that through prayer. A personal, consistent, structured prayer rule has never been my forte, I am too easily distracted by other ‘important’ things. But now I’ve been blessed with time to set aside a few minutes several times a day to open my prayer book. I just have to chose to do it.

I’m also blessed that this time is coincident with Great Lent, the time when I am supposed to reduce distractions, giving me more time to contemplate my life in Christ while I meditate upon His journey towards martyrdom for all of creation.

I can be blessed if I read through the services of Holy Week, being present with the Lord as He was rejected, imprisoned, beaten, and hung from a cross so I could become as He is.

I can be blessed to read the psalms during vigil on Holy Saturday while waiting for the Lord to rise in glory on Sunday. And even though I can’t do these things in the physical presence of other members of my church, I will be with them spiritually. Even if I’m distracted by many things, Pascha will come. Even if the season doesn’t ‘feel’ right without the ceremonies, Pascha will come. Even though the churches are closed, Pascha will come.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ and His defeat of death reverberates throughout all of space and time. It is the centre of creation, the fulfillment of God’s plan, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Cheese Pascha

You need a big mixer for this one, or cut the recipe down

3 pounds of room temperature cream cheese

1 pound room temperature butter

2 cups icing sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1 pint sour cream (2 cups)

optional; golden raisins, slivered almonds

Cream the butter, add cream cheese, keep creaming add sugar, vanilla then sour cream.

Spoon into bowls and decorate with raisins and almonds if desired. Refrigerate for several hours before eating.

Blessed Pascha, everyone!

Pascha Sweet Bread

Warm 4 cups of milk with

1 pound butter

cool in large bowl,

beat 12 eggs with

1 Tablespoon salt and

2.5 cups sugar

Meanwhile mix

4 Tablespoons yeast with

1 cup warm water and

1 Tablespoon sugar and

1 Tablespoon flour

let proof

Add all the above together with about 19-21 cups of flour to make a very soft dough. Knead with up to 1/4 cup oil on hands. Let rise twice in its bowl. Form into loaves, or put in greased pans, brush with egg wash if you want to. Bake a 350 degrees

Small loaf pan;s about 35 minutes

Large loaf pans; up to about an hour.

Personally I found smaller loaves cooked properly while larger loafs had a tendency to stay raw in the middle.

Check with toothpick. If you didn’t use the eggwash, then brush with melted butter or oil. This keeps the crust soft.

Letting Go in times of uncertainty

I grew up, as most of us did, in a school system which emphasized planning. I learned to schedule time for homework assignments, work time, play time, social time; all the things in the life of the successful student.

Planning continued to be emphasized when I entered the workforce. I learned management techniques designed to create and implement the goals of the organization in one year, five year, fifteen year plans. Margins of error were allowed but goals had to be set. And not just for the organization, I was encouraged to set personal goals and develop plans accordingly. Keep my eyes on the prize, be a man with a plan…. And I was, despite the poster on my wall which read ‘Let Go and let God’.

I regularly assessed my life, considered my options, prayed and decided on a course of action, because as my mom used to say, God can’t steer a boat that isn’t moving. Even if that was true, it wasn’t God steering the boat, it was me, at least until I foundered or couldn’t read my chart.

When I reach the point where I had done everything I could and could do no more, I would finally “let go and let God” take over. Or if some sort of unplanned disruption happened, accident, illness, whatever, I would ‘let go and let God’ until life settled down into some sort of new normal, then I would take back control and steer my life as if I knew what I was doing, And God would let me if I insisted, because… free will. It’s taken a lot of foundering and mistakes for me to finally allow God to take full control and be my pilot in all that I do.

Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me. Psalm 5:8

I used to read the latter part of the verse as “make my way straight before you.” This is the difference between, “Oh Lord, bless that which I am about to do” and “Oh Lord, what do you want me to do?”

I’m not saying I let God decide every little thing in my life. I’ll not stay in bed until I have a word from God as to what clothes to wear, what colour socks to put on. I went through that briefly, shortly after I became a Christian and dismissed the exercise as silly. I am, like every person, created with the ability to make decisions and it is my decision making which can enable or delay my salvation BUT (and it’s a big but), if I am in continuous prayer, keeping my eyes on Christ, opportunities to serve God will make themselves known.

For instance, one day I had to run to the store where I bumped into someone I hadn’t seen for awhile. We talked for a bit and said goodbye. I have no idea what effect, if any, our meeting had on her. But I do know if I had been grumbling about running out of whatever, and becoming irritated with the necessity of leaving home, the parking, the number of people in the store and my inability to find what I needed right away, it would have been a very different conversation, if I had had one at all. Instead, I treated the ‘inconvenience’ as an adventure.

In the past, I spent one week experiencing all of life as an adventure and that was when my family moved to BC. We drove from Northern Ontario at the end of January. It was a week of ‘letting go and letting God’. We experienced vehicle breakdowns which took us off the road during snowstorms. We met strangers who helped us with problems and fed us pancakes while we shared stories. It was a wonderful week of wondering, what is God going to do next and actually looking forward to the next problem to find out.

It’s the way I want to live my whole life. Doing what God sets before me, even though it may have nothing to do with what I’ve planned.

Lord, open my eyes so I can see Your way straight before me.

Time in the desert

Well, I can’t avoid talking about this Covid19 outbreak, especially since it has replaced the weather as the number one topic of choice. So here are a few thoughts.

As a confirmed introvert, I rejoice in the option of self-isolation. I no longer have to search for excuses to avoid social gatherings, now I can just humbly say, “For the good of the community and especially those with compromised immune systems, I will stay home,” and I am viewed as a community minded person and no longer as anti-social. I can now engage in my personal projects without having to worry about stopping because ‘now its time to go somewhere’. There’s no where to go, no people to see and lots of things to do at home! Finally, a government decreed world of introverts.

That’s the upside, the downside… I don’t get to go out when I want to. Even as an introvert, I like to occasionally eat out, go to a movie, see friends and, most importantly, attend Church.

And that for me is the biggest downside.

As a Christian, being part of the body of Christ means being a part of community. At our church, we have a potluck after every Sunday liturgy where everyone can sit and talk and share and enjoy each other’s company. During this season of Lent, we have mid-week services where we are refreshed for the battle of self-denial. We have book studies where seekers can learn about the faith and the faithful can share thoughts with one another. But because we’ve chosen to comply with the health guidelines, these extra services have been cancelled. Sunday liturgy has been curtailed until April and may be longer.

Normal no longer exists, at least for now. But that’s okay. I now have time to reassess what’s important in my life. Being in the relaxing presence of family and friends, talking, teasing laughing, these are things I enjoy. I can, to a certain extent, maintain those relationships with the use of technology but technology is limited. On the other hand, community festivals, sports activities, concerts had little impact on my life, so I won’t notice their absence.

But I regret not participating in the life of the Church especially during Lent, the journey to Pascha. I haven’t missed Holy Week or a Paschal service in 20 years of becoming Orthodox, in fact this Palm Sunday will be the 20th anniversary of my family becoming members of the Orthodox Church.

So what does this mean, is my journey through life, to achieving full humanity as Christ did, dependent upon my weekly attendance at church? The simple answer is ‘No’, though regular attendance at services with other members of the body certainly helps me on that journey.

It’s the difference between exercising by myself and exercising with like-minded people. When I set a goal, others can encourage, support and even work with me to achieve that goal. When I’m by myself, its so easy to fall back into bed or not to practise because there is no one checking up on me. If I am to succeed by myself, I have to have the intestinal fortitude to be disciplined in my daily exercise program.

Throughout history, Christians have experienced times when regular church attendance was impossible and yet they didn’t lose faith. In fact, many emerged with their faith stronger than ever. They did so because they had a personal active, vital prayer life, something I need now I can no longer attend services.

During Lent, the Orthodox Church honours St. Mary of Egypt. She was a woman who wasted her early life through self-gratification. When she finally repented, she spent the next 40 years, in the desert, by herself, praying to God for mercy. In all that time, she saw a priest twice and had the Eucharist once before she died. Yet she is considered a great saint for the discipline she imposed upon herself as she journeyed towards holiness.

St Mary is my example of self-discipline and my prayer book contains my exercise program. I will begin with Psalm 91.

Holy Mother Mary pray for us and may the Lord guide and strengthen us all during our time in the desert.

Incarnation

What child is this who’s laid to rest on Mary’s lap is sleeping?

When I was little and full of Christmas anticipation, this child served as a reason for me to get lots of presents and perform in the annual nativity pageant. I enjoyed being an angel, a sheep, not so much, but the year I was cast as Herod’s wife, wow. The flowing garments and the exotic make-up I got to wear as a twelve year old overshadowed any consideration of who Christ was because I was beautiful!

As I grew older, Christmas holidays were family time and to give back to my parents by giving gifts in quantities they’d given me.

As a young wife and mother, I willingly sacrificed myself to the flurry of decorations, preparation of special foods and, of course, gift giving. I was intent upon providing my kids with the perfect Christmas with which I had grown up. Christmases which required stress before and after once the January credit card bill arrived.

Who is this child?

Over the years, stress has drowned out the answer. Gifts have to be made. The cards have to be written and mailed on time. Decorations need sorting and hanging. Once the children moved out, I had to prepare for their annual Christmas visit with their families. I had no time to give thought to the child in Mary’s lap.

Who is this child?

Phil 2:5-8: “… Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, … made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness as men… He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

In the ‘Incarnation of the Word”, St. Athanasius says Christ “put on a body that he may find death in the body and blot it out”. This is reflected in the icon of the nativity where the babe’s swaddling clothes foreshadow his burial shroud and the manger, his burial cave.

This child was born to die so all of us might live and become who we are meant to be.

This is the magic of Christmas.

For one month of the year, despite the worldly cacophonous materialism, the presence of this child’s quiet, gentle, underlying love stirs people of all beliefs into becoming a blessing to others. People fill food hampers, volunteer at soup kitchens, give money to those in need and smile at strangers. Christmas movies depict jaded people going through a life changing experience and learning to love and embrace others (a la Scrooge).

For one month of the year, we catch a glimpse of the divine, of the world as it could be filled with God’s peace, love and joy, and we can taste the perfection we earnestly desire.

Recently, my family decided to give gifts only to the children, and to hold family reunions in the summer. Personally, my Christmas season has become much more relaxed knowing everyone is safe in their homes and I have only myself to prepare for the birth of this child. I no longer participate in the frenetic flurry of shopping and doing for others until December 26, when I can carefully wrap the baby up, gently place Him in the cupboard with the other ornaments and thankfully sigh ‘that’s another Christmas over with’.

Who is this child?

He is what I can become.

Christ entered the world as this child and grew to manhood and perfect humanity. Spiritually, I am born into the self-centeredness of infancy, gradually become aware of others, then, ideally, enter the self sacrifice of adulthood and completion of my humanity.

Christmas, as with all births, is only a beginning. If I allow it, Christmas is with me year round. I am part of the body of Christ, the incarnation of God on earth. This child is born into my heart, growing and leading me into service to others and self denial. This child lives in me while I journey towards becoming the perfect human being I was meant to be. Like this child, I was born to die, as everyone is and like this child, I can live in eternal love.

Blessed Nativity.

Living Forgiveness

Twenty years ago, when we entered the Orthodox Christian Church, our children ranged in age from 9 to 16 years of age. One of the first services we experienced was the service of forgiveness which begins Great Lent in the Orthodox calendar. This is a service where every person in the congregation prostrates his or herself before every other person in the congregation while asking the other to ‘Forgive me’. There were many strangers at our first Forgiveness Sunday most with whom I had never interacted and so had no obvious reason to forgive them or them me, but it was also the first time I ever made a concerted effort to ask my husband and my children for forgiveness. That first Forgiveness Sunday began a long and continuing process of healing relationships within our family. Not just within the Orthodox parts but within our extended family as well.

Every year I renew my commitment to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. This makes it easier throughout the year to forgive and to ask for forgiveness whenever a problem arises. By putting my ego in check, I found relationships are easier to maintain because potentially hurtful situations can be dealt with quickly and not allowed to fester.

Every Christian repeats the Lord’s Prayer. There is one line in particular which should give us pause; ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us’. This definitely implies that God’s forgiveness is only available to us as long as we forgive others.

Now don’t get me wrong. God forgiveness is NOT conditional, it is freely available to all but I have to want it, to take advantage of it and when I do not forgive someone else, then I am making myself unavailable to receive God’s forgiveness towards me.

This is why I make a concerted effort to attend the Sunday service of Forgiveness Vespers. I need to go. Maybe I feel like I’m going through the motions and just saying the words to start with, but the physical act of prostrating and speaking forgiveness begins to stir something deep within my soul. It changes me.

I am dismayed when I hear about relational conflicts within the church, conflicts which could be resolved if both parties asked forgiveness and began to talk to each other with humility. When this doesn’t happen, the whole church suffers.

In Matthew 5:22-24, Jesus teaches, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”

The implication here is the offering is worthless if the offer-er is angry with someone. In other words, everything I do for the church, for God, for other people is nothing if I am holding a grudge against someone, if I have refused to forgive them and ask for their forgiveness in return. That is a pretty harsh reality to face.

My life needs to be one of forgiveness. There is no room in my life for grudges or bitterness, especially at my age. It is hard to remember this in a world whose entertainment glorifies revenge and violence and whose news is reporting such every day.

When I can forgive and ask forgiveness of those around me, and they can do the same for me, then I begin to live as God intended for me to live. Christ came to reconcile us to Himself through His love and His forgiveness. What reasons could I possibly have to refuse to reconcile with those around me?

Forgiveness is available for everyone. It costs nothing except pride. I need to forgive daily. If I don’t, then I can not claim to love Christ. The image of Christ is in everyone and forgiveness is the practice of love.

Is arguing theology worth it?

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years discussing theology and have recently concluded… there is no point.

Orthodox means ‘right beliefs’, but right beliefs don’t necessarily translate into right action.

James 2:19 says “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.”

The demons have right beliefs, even Satan knows the truth about God, but what do they do with the knowledge? And that’s where the rubber hits the road, so to speak. I could read every theology book there is, I could get a PhD in theology, I could discuss theology and teach theology, but it will not do me one iota of good if I don’t live theology.

After all, Saul was a student o Gameliel, he studied and he knew all here was to know about the messiah according to the Jewish scriptures. If studying and learning about God can lead someone to the full knowledge of God then not only Saul but all the students of the Mosaic Law should have recognized Jesus as soon as He made himself known, but they didn’t.

Those who readily recognized Christ for who He was often the lowly, the humble, the unlearned, those who had to rely upon their neighbours, their family, their community for their existence. He was recognized by those who knew the people around them were important.

Saul, despite all his learning, didn’t know Christ until he was struck blind on the road. Humbled, he had to accept the assistance of others in order to live, the very others he was trying to find and kill.

Too often, knowledge leads to pride and pride always stands between us and God because it stands between us and others. When this happens, often God will allow something life changing to happen leaving the formerly prideful to rely on others for help. Kind of like a heavenly slap upside the head.

Learning from, and teaching, others is part of my journey to becoming human. But how I do it will determine the success of that journey. Do I express myself in pride and arrogance; ‘listen to me because I know more than you’ or do I share in humility; ‘these are the mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned, if you would like to hear them’.

Arguing and debating, especially about the things of God does not convince anyone. More often than not, these things play right into the enemy’s hands by causing strife, grief and broken relationships. I know, I have lost the good will of many people over the years trying to beat them over the head with theological arguments.

Despite the accepted definition of Theology as the study of beliefs about deity, theology literally means the study of God; “Theo” meaning God and ‘ology’ meaning ‘study of’. I need to study God and not just beliefs about Him. I study God by getting to know Him, by drawing closer to Him, by eliminating the things that get between me and Him.

The only way to truly get to know God is to constantly be in His presence. The apostles spent three years with Christ, living with Him, eating with Him and observing how He treated others. It wasn’t until after Christ’s resurrection that they fully understood they were travelling towards the Kingdom and they were commissioned to bring others with them using the same methods Christ used, forgiveness, love and humility.

Even though I was born two thousand years after Christ walked this earth, I can also live in God’s presence. God’s grace is all around me in creation, let me treat it with respect and gratitude. The image of God is within every person, let me recognize Him and love each person He brings to me. God’s presence fills the church during a service. His life is in the Eucharist. The words of the hymns and psalms wash over me teaching me more theology than any book.

This is how I can live in God’s presence, by being present in the Church. This is how I can proclaim the gospel, by loving others. This is how I can become living theology, by striving to become fully human.

Hatred

I do enjoy going to films, I am a Marvel and Star Wars fan, after all. But recently I’ve become more uncomfortable sitting through a movie and not just because they are getting longer. I’m having a problem with people being killed with impunity for our entertainment with little or no obvious consequences. In reality, the vehicular carnage and explosive fights would leave hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent bystanders horribly mutilated or dead.

So many of these films are motivated by anger, fear and/or revenge, all of which are addictive. These are emotions we are supposed to control in our real lives but within the made-up world of films and TV shows, we can let loose. We can revel in the destruction of the ‘evil minions’ as the hero fights towards his ultimate goal of bringing down the mastermind. But who were these people who have just been wiped out of existence? Who were their families, their friends, who will mourn their loss? We don’t know and don’t care, these people are just collateral damage and more fuel to feed the protagonist’s anger and hate, more sacrifices to satiate his revenge.

The problem is, what we see in fiction is affecting reality, at least the reality we live in. More people are quick to take offence at the slightest perceived insult. More leaders are using fear to instill anger and hatred towards their opponents or any who oppose them.

When I was in high school, both the junior and the senior football teams won their way to regional finals which every student attended. As the game intensified so did the emotions on both sides. With only minutes left, an opposing player was running the ball towards our end. Our entire side of the stadium rose as one howling “Get him!”, “Stop him!” “Kill him!”. I had an intense flash of hatred for the player, someone I didn’t even know. I sat down dismayed, why did I want a complete stranger to be injured? For what? A ball?

For the first and, I hope, last time I experienced a taste of mob rule, and it was bitter. Even so, it was a freeing sensation, to be able to let go of reason and individual choice, and allow the predominate emotion of the mob to take over and ‘go with the flow’.

But mob rule cements tribalism and tribalism is what drives racism, sexism, political and religious extremism and war. Cheering for a sports team is, at first glance, a relatively innocent activity, but when passions are aroused to the point where the mob takes over, hurling insults, initiating skirmishes and riots all because ‘our’ team lost, then something is very wrong.

Tribalism encourages us to take sides, to identify with one group of people over another. Tribalism isolates us from ‘the Others’ and encourages us to think of them as something less than ourselves. Listening to and participating in the chants and yelled insults at that game, made me realize by dehumanizing the opposing players, I was also dehumanizing myself and refusing to acknowledge the image of God in both myself and them. Thus, I was separating myself from God.

Jesus is love incarnate and ultimate humanity. If I follow Him there can be no place in my life for hatred. If I hate someone, if I incite other people to fear and hatred, then I am not following God but Satan.

Hate is intoxicating. It is a self destructive poison which is killing us, making us less than human. Tearing relationships, marriages, community, country, the world apart, hate poisons the world.  When we indulge in thoughts of hatred and revenge, we are sinning as much as though we acted on them. Thoughts will always come but we don’t need to invite them in and entertain them. Instead, we need to listen to Jesus, “I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” Matt 5:45

Or in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Transfiguration

I enjoyed the film The Matrix (the original not the sequels). The concept that reality is not what we think it is appeals to me. The TV series, Stranger Things and other science fiction shows also delve into the possibility of alternative or parallel realities. The writers want us to consider the feasibility of there being more to this world than meets the eye.

I believe there is an element of truth to these fictions. I completely agree there is a reality beyond what we experience day to day but I think these shows are missing something. Of the shows I’ve seen, without exception, the alternative reality to the one in which we live is ugly; the other side is ugly, the upside-down is ugly, the physical world of the red pill is ugly.

This is where I break rank with these shows. I believe there is a reality all around us which we can’t see, but I also believe it is better than the one in which we live on this temporal plane. I believe the Kingdom of Heaven is all around us, here and now, but we just can’t quite see it. Maybe it’s time shifted, or phase shifted or covered with a veil. Maybe we catch a glimpse of it just out of the corner of our eye. However it is hidden, I know it is there and the closer we draw to God, the more it is revealed to us.

This real ‘other side’ is shown to us within the scriptures. In the presence of three of his disciples, Peter, James and John, Christ conversed with Elijah and Moses, surrounded by the blinding glory of the Kingdom of Heaven, as a voice said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him”. Afterwards, Christ told his disciples not to say anything about what they had seen until after his resurrection. Only then would it make sense.

In fact, it wasn’t until after Christ’s resurrection that the disciples truly knew who Christ was. That was when the veil of this world was torn from their eyes and they were able to fully understand the scriptures. It was only then they could grasp the full meaning of Christ’s Transfiguration; the Son of God revealing Himself as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, in all His glory, fully illuminated and fully human, demonstrating to His apostles what they, and by extension we, could become, human beings made in the image and likeness of God.

Even while they walked with Him, the disciples were blind to His true nature despite catching glimpses of the Kingdom all around them. There was a time when Christ was asked when the Kingdom of God would come and He told the questioner to stop chasing after signs because “the Kingdom of God is among you.”

When the disciples saw Christ walking on the water towards them through the wind and the waves, Peter was the only one who caught a glimpse of reality and leapt out of the boat to walk towards Christ. And it worked, until he took his eyes off of Christ and became overwhelmed by the violence of the physical world around him.

And therein lies my inability to see the Kingdom of Heaven, taking my eyes off of Christ.

I have in my library a book of 3D images, pictures which look like two dimensional abstract art until I stare at them in a certain way. Only then I am able to perceive a hidden three dimensional image. But as soon as I blink or look away, the 3D image disappears and the page is, once again, a flat abstract mess of colours with little meaning. If I want to continue to see the 3D image, I have to keep staring at the paper.

If I want to see the Kingdom of Heaven all around me, then I have to keep my eyes on Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life of the Kingdom. He is the only way to make sense of, and navigate through, this temporal plane of existence since He is the light illuminating all of reality.