I’m a reader. I love to read! I always have three or four books I’m reading at a time, plus another several that are piled up waiting for a loving hand to reach out and take them down from the shelf (or pick them up off the floor). Some reading is light, easy, quick. Other times it is instructive, helpful, a bit more academic. Still other books are challenging, slow-going, like slogging along a muddy trail (I just recently celebrated getting a third the way – after four months’ effort – into one of the latter types). This book both fascinates and demands. It tells the incredible ways our brains respond to all that we see. Have you ever counted, or tried to count, the number of ways our eyes communicate and are communicated to? And wondered what our brains are doing during each of those ‘looks’? In a crowd, we see without registering. In a small group of strangers, we see without knowing. With family and friends, we ‘see’ the experience (I mean, the next day, can you remember what they were wearing, even what color they were wearing?). At other times we see disapproval, disdain, dismissiveness, danger, animosity, even evil. All these seeings instantaneously fire up regions of our brains to correspond to the need of the moment. For the social media inclined, it’s truly mind-boggling to think of how many words, pictures, videos they ‘see’ every day (and how many firings the brain does in response!) No wonder we hear people talking about their brains being mush at the end of the day! Poor brains (think hamsters on their wheels)!
When we see that pile of dirty dishes, or that waiting stack of paperwork, or that overdue essay assignment, the brain registers stress and conveys the word to neck and back muscles. When we see something or someone beautiful, I imagine our brain registers pleasure and sends the message to our whole body to relax and probably sends some type of hormone to promote it. When we see the words written in the letter of acceptance – for that job, that promotion, that school, that house – our brains are at the ready to communicate the good news to the rest of our bodies. Our brains are always on the job!
When we are sufficiently rested (and caffeinated) to be able to see ‘higher’ than all that’s physical, we are then ready to ‘see’ God, to worship. When we do, I’m going to guess the Holy Spirit leaps into action, dusting off the often under-used worship ‘rooms’ in our brains. In turn, our brains begin sending a whole series of messages of extreme elation (akin to extreme sports) to the various members of our body (that’s why you often hear people being transported while in worship). But because we’re finite, ‘seeing’ (and being seen by) the Infinite Creator is a wildly discombobulating experience. We’re puny and ugly and undeserving, yet seeing the pure, ravishing Holiness of our Savior – and being fully seen by Him – transforms our seeing like never before. Somehow, in worship, our puniness, our ugliness, our undeservingness, is completely absorbed, obliterated and re-birthed, in our being ‘seen’ by Love. PD