Thomas Mann, in his book “To Taste and See,” writes:

Jesus said, ‘Whoever will not welcome the realm of God as a little child welcomes it, will not enter into it.’ My father was once walking on the beach with his three-year-old grandson when the little boy stopped, picked up a tiny fragment of a seashell, and began to examine it. My father bent down and, looking at the tiny fragment, asked the boy, “How could you see such a little shell?” “Because,” the boy said, “I have little eyes.”

I wonder if this is part of what Jesus is recommending for you and me, this quality of vision, of paying attention and noticing the world with eyes that are open. We live in tumultuous times, filled with ominous economic signs, shattering ecological tragedies, more than our share of tales of distress and disaster. I wonder if we need “little eyes” that can discern the hope amid the horror, the blessing within the curse.

One of my favorite memories from childhood is when my mother and I gathered up oak and maple and elm leaves – gold and red and yellow – and pressed them with a hot iron between pages of wax paper. For the long winter season ahead, we had preserved the inspiring beauty of autumn.

My mother is now gone, and those pages of leaves crumbled long ago, but the beauty remains. We had taken the time to look with “little eyes” at the blessing of the season. Now it can never be taken away from me. With Mom on a fall day, I had entered the realm of God.

Your friend and fellow minister,

Rev. Steve Savides

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