Back in the spring when the pandemic first hit, Heidi bought a paint by numbers kit for our daughter, Sofia. And Sofia has been plugging away at it little by little over the last few months. When our family gathered for Sunday morning worship (around a screen, of course!), she pulled out the painting and we all monitored her progress each week.

Being Drawn In

Over time, we realized something about the painting as she was slowly filling in each of the colours—the image of a church and a steeple was becoming the focal point of the painting. In my limited knowledge of art, I understand that this is a common phenomenon in works of art:  most paintings have a main focal point that our eyes tend to become drawn to.

I am a big fan of Henri Nouwen, a renowned Christian author. He wrote an entire book about his experience of staring at Rembrandt’s “Prodigal Son” painting and the profound impact this painting and the story it represents has on us all. In this book, he referred to this whole idea of a main focal point in the painting. In the Rembrandt piece it was, of course, the All Loving Father.

No Clear Horizon

I love this metaphor for our current times. Many of us have had to come to grips with our emotional and/or mental health condition during the pandemic. I’m convinced that a key reason for what has us feeling uneasy, anxious, and possibly even depressed is the reality that we don’t see and/or feel a clear sight or end to the pandemic in the short-term future. There is a lack of a clear horizon. There is not a lighthouse in the sea. There is not a steeple in the city. There is not a focal point for our eyes to naturally move towards.

Finding Our Focus

However, the Bible says in Hebrews 12:2, “Fix your eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Please know that I am not a big fan of saying, “oh, just believe in Jesus and your worries will go away.” But I do have to say that in the context of our lives, our eyes need something to focus on—just like when we are staring at a beautiful painting. I take comfort in fixing my eyes on Jesus, so that I will not grow weary and lose heart.

So, this is our school’s theme verse for the year:  Hebrews 12:2—Fix your eyes on Jesus.

As you stare out into what this school year looks like for you, your family, and your loved ones; may this be your focal point, your true north, your tower.

Many blessings to everyone as we start this year together, fixing our eyes on Jesus.