Rev. David McAllister
Rev. David McAllister

I will share new thoughts at least once a week, and I invite your reflections and responses to them via email through the Contact tab.

April 16, 2021


The Value of Patience


I seldom make reference to a book that I have not read, but I am going to chance it in this blog.  I subscribe to a magazine, “Fast Company,” and in a recent issue there was an interview with Nyle DiMarco, who, when asked about a book that he would recommend to everyone, suggested Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike.  He recommended it as a book that shows that “great things require time, effort and patience.”  (March/April 2021 issue, p. 20)


It sounds like helpful insights for any endeavor, and I would certainly say that those are lessons I have learned to be true for churches, both in general and in relation to including the arts in the life of the church.


One of the most accessible forms of art for people in a church seems to be photography.  Perhaps this is because almost everyone has taken photos at some time or other.  It is an art form that people can understand, where in the process of creating it makes sense.  This is one of the reasons that the use of PowerPoint presentations is a successful way of integrating the arts into worship experiences. 


That being said, photography is also an art form that can teach lessons such as are suggested by the book mentioned above.  Yes, anyone can point their phone camera at something and snap a photo.  Most of us do this frequently.  Often, we are not looking for great composition or artistic quality, but we are trying to capture a moment.


But professional photographers know that often the best photograph possible comes through much patience.  Yes, skill at composition, and understanding lighting and the workings of the camera are all important, but patience is what often changes a photograph that is very good into one that is great.


If you have ever photographed a sunset, you know that in a sense all the stages of the setting sun are beautiful.  But there is usually one photograph out of many that stands out, one that captures the stunning beauty of the setting sun and the surroundings of the place in which you are standing or sitting.  I have done this a number of times, looking out over the Pacific Ocean.  I find many striking moments during the sunset, but almost always there is that one moment that makes all the waiting worthwhile.  It is the reward for patience.  Of course, amidst the patience there is also the gift of the entire experience.


The patience of photography can also teach us about patience in life.  Indeed, photography can be a spiritual discipline of sorts, one that helps us to see and learn these deeper lessons.  Photography in an art form in which creativity and life come together.  The patience it can teach, the value of waiting for something, is also related to what the Bible offers for developing our relationship with God.  The Psalmist often encourages waiting, and in Psalm 37:7 writes: “Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently.”  Photography helps us learn to do that.





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