Things seen and unseen

On April 8, we experienced a total solar eclipse. As you know, this celestial phenomenon occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun and obscures the sun from view. These sorts of natural phenomenon offer us the chance to expand the ways we experience our world. At the beginning of the Nicene Creed, we profess: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.” When I sit with this phrase – of all that is seen and unseen – I feel my heart and mind opening to worlds of existence that I may likely never experience.


When I worked for the Vice President for Research at the University of Virginia, part of my responsibilities included supporting the Institutional Review Boards. Some of the proposed research made sense to me because of my own graduate work. Other projects were in fields with which I had some familiarity, but the specifics of the research was brand new to me. Other proposed research projects were in fields that I didn’t even know existed! When these would come across my desk, I loved to sit and imagine the people who had dedicated their lives to a subject that was completely unknown to me. The proposals’ creativity and complexity brought to mind the Creator’s care for every exquisite detail in nature as expressed in designs like the Fibonacci sequence – an unseen golden ratio that is expressed in the glorious spiraling patterns in nature.





In Genesis, we read that “In their image, God created humanity,” a statement which grounds my foundational belief that every single being reveals something about God that we would not know without the uniqueness of that individual. So when I encounter something that was previously unknown, unseen by me, I delight to realize that I’m being shown something new about the Divine and Her extraordinary  power and creativity. Even if I cannot grasp or comprehend what I’m being shown, I feel my heart swell with wonder.

In our Gospel lesson this weekend, when Jesus stands among the disciples – and is being seen by them – they believe that they have seen a ghost. They are terrified by the unseen forces that brought their beloved friend and teacher to be among them after the horrors of his death. In his compassion, Jesus takes broiled fish and eats it in front of them, before opening their minds so that they could understand all that they had witnessed.




When you come to the altar this weekend to receive communion, we take in things both seen and unseen. The visible signs of the sacrament – the bread and wine – are brought forward, blessed, broken, and shared as they become vessels of the invisible grace of God. In this Easter season, may you all feel blessed by things known and unknown, seen and unseen, visible and invisible, trusting that God is good and gracious all the time.

With blessings of peace and hope,


(this post was originally written as part of my interim work at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church)