Widen the Aperture
Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.” – Matthew 22:29 (NRSV)
The technology of photography employs the lens of the camera using very similar technology to what we have in our own eyes. Our pupils widen or narrow through what’s called our pupillary aperture.
Whether we’re talking about the aperture of a camera or the aperture of our eyes, all of this is about the manipulation of (in a camera)—or the response to (with our eyes)—light.
Our pupils have the job of regulating the amount of light that can enter our eyes. If there’s tons of light, the pupil constricts to protect the rest of the eye. And a dilated pupil gives us night vision—it widens so that we can let more light in.
Now, in photography, the width of the aperture has a lot to do with the perspective of the image in front of you. To put it simply: a narrower aperture gives you a more focused image with a blurrier background. My favorite mode on the iPhone does this: portrait mode gives you that beautiful contrast. But as you widen the aperture, you get a widened perspective of focus.
So what does this have to do with God or with this text, you’ll want to know. It’s an excellent question.
Here’s my contention: there are times when a narrow focus is helpful. But if we only keep a narrow focus, waaaaay too much crucial background is blurred. And when that happens with religion? That’s when people start getting killed. Literally.
Too narrow a focus for too long makes us see only what we want to see—what we put in front of ourselves.
But widen the aperture? And there’s much, much more to see.
And by the grace of God, little by little you let the light come in.
Help me to let the light in, O God. I need it. I need you so. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.