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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Thursday, March 4

Jesus was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.
—Mark 9:2b-3

I remember the first time I ever put on swimming goggles and dipped my head below the surface of the ocean to look at a tropical reef. I was so struck by the cacophony of colors, the iridescent profusion of fish, the wondrous pattern of corals and sponges and anemones—I started to laugh underwater. It seemed like the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

And then to remind myself of the contrast, I climbed up out of the water and looked down to where I had just been swimming. With the reflection of sun and sky and the turbulence of the waves, the spot looked to be nothing but an uninteresting and shadowy rocky formation below the beauty of the rolling sea. 

I never knew before what wonders lay just below the surface. It seemed to me like God had saved the most extravagant paints from the divine palette and assigned them to the ocean floor. The beauty took my breath away.

There are moments when it seems like something falls away, and we see deeper, below the surface of everyday attention, and get a glimpse of an unseen beauty and wonder that expands our consciousness. Those moments can be so full that they seem self-authenticating.

These are glimpses of Transfiguration, when the veil is lifted, and for an instant we see below the ordinary surface into the wondrous depths of unseen realities around us. It is seeing with the eyes of the artist, the poet or the saint. Life is glorious. Or as Gerard Manley Hopkins writes in "God's Grandeur,"

And for all this, nature is never spent; 
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things.

Open my eyes, O God, to the infinite possibilities and glory that is present throughout your wondrous creation, and let me see as you see. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2007.