Last Wednesday, as my father and I were fulfilling a long-standing promise to attend a game of the Stanley Cup Finals should our Pittsburgh Penguins be one of the finalists, I took this picture to capture the moment where overtime started. In this picture you can see the five skaters for each team, along with a good sampling of the crowd on hand. When I took this picture, I was pleased with myself, for it was done on the spur-of-the-moment with a simple camera phone. I chose to make it a square photo so that I could share it on Instagram.

However, on the flight home the next day, as I looked at the picture more, I realized that in my desire to capture that upon which I was most focused, I missed some very important parts of the scene. One of the things I hoped to capture was the non-verbal preparation of all the players for this important moment, for in playoff overtime hockey, you play all night until someone scores. Reflecting upon this fact led me to realize there are two things missing, without which this is an incomplete picture – the two goaltenders. What is really unique about this year’s matchup is that each goaltender is a rookie, and each are the backups for their respective teams.

One of them will have their image recorded for all time as the game-winner goes past them and into the back of the net they are defending. Although the game will go down in large part due to their action, they are left far away from center ice, isolated until the action comes to them.

In pondering all this, I was reminded so much of how we often do the same thing to scripture as I did to the moment pictured above. We have our mind centered on what precisely we want to get out of the text, have an idea of where we will look for the words we want to hear, and block out everything else. Yet, scripture is not a series of ‘one-off’ verses, chapters, or stories to be read in a vacuum. Nay, the scriptures are compiled in such a manner as to present the story of God’s creating, saving, and redeeming work in all of creation from the beginning of time to the anticipation of Christ coming again in glory at the end of days.

I could find other views of the same shot I took, and Photoshop them together in such a way as to make it look like I captured the whole scene; but I would always know that no one else was seated in section 204, row C, seat 1 at that point in time, and any effort to doctor the picture would, in the end, be fruitless. Photoshop in this instance is not an option.

When we approach scripture, let us be intentional in how we approach it, encompassing as much of the context as possible, so that we can see as much of the divine picture as possible. Let us not be deluded into thinking that we can Photoshop our way into seeing the whole of God’s message in the texts…let us be those who look far and wide for as much of God’s message as possible by looking at all of the text as part of God’s story for all creation.

Grace and Peace, Lamar