“… things unknown to you.”


“From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you. (Isaiah 48:6)

For almost thirty years this milky white stained-glass bird with just a slight sheen of color on one surface has hung in the window of every one of my offices.  It was fashioned as a gift by a talented parishioner and has traveled with me from West Virginia, to Massachusetts, then on to Virginia and finally back to West Virginia.  In my present office it hangs a little differently.  Instead of dangling right up against the window pane as it did in the other offices, it swings from fishing line a few inches in front of the window.  That’s what helped set up the discovery in the photo.   Last week I walked into the office just at the right moment to see for the very first time the “rainbow bird” projected on the wall jutting out from the window.  Wow, what a discovery after almost thirty years of watching the bird in the window!

Frankly, I’ve never been that fond of the bird.  Of the several beautiful things the same parishioner made for me, this bird has never been my favorite.  I’ve always treasured it, but more for its meaning and less for its beauty.  It just seemed so plain old plain… until last week.

We all form opinions about one another, and our actions and interactions generally follow from those opinions.  I’m convinced that most of our opinions of each other are based more on what we don’t know rather than what we really know of one other.  This week I’m meeting as part of a board to interview candidates for ministry.  As we progress through the interviews I’m reminded of what hard work it is to discover the unknowns of our candidates and make our best efforts to get to know them before making decisions.

It is hard work to get to know one another and to keep on discovering the hidden treasures and new revelations throughout the life of the relationship.  Maybe we do some of our worst hurting of each other when we first stop the hard work of discovery and become content to live in the stagnant pools of assumption.

Through Isaiah God offered hope with new revelations, new manifestations of God’s capacity to love even when disappointed by us.  The more we work to know God, the more we know of divine love and hope.  The more we work to know each other, the less likely we are to inflict wounds and more likely we are to share divinely inspired Christ-like love.  I pray that God will give me the energy and discipline to continue the hard work of discovery and avoid the pitfalls of assumption.

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my new book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

Check out my new video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”


~ by revgenelson on February 2, 2011.

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