Marine Corps Base Quantico -- For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall.” 1 Peter 1:24
"And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave." 1 John 2:17
If my wife described my attitude toward taking pictures, she might just use characters like the Grinch, Debbie Downer, or Scrooge. None of those would offend me, but even if they did, I could not make a defense. Pictures often bother me. It doesn’t matter if I am standing in them, taking them, watching others take them, looking at them, or hearing people wish “they had a camera.” It’s hard to determine the root of these negative emotions, but I have given it some thought.
This week in the news, there was an old picture of a yellow square sign at the beach that said “Picture Spot,” and up in the corner was the name Kodak. It may surprise you that I have never seen a sign like that. It was a real “Kodak Moment.” There are moments in life that are “picture perfect,” yet in a world without limits on film or high costs on processing, just about every moment seems as if it must be captured. Not even the slightest memory can be missed.
If you are even slightly observant, you will see lots of people taking pictures of flowers. This doesn’t surprise me, and it sheds some insight on why humans are so fascinated with capturing life in a way that makes it stand still. As the verse said, the flowers are fading. We too are likened to the fading grass, here today but gone tomorrow. No one wants to be temporary like the flower, and none of us want pictures when we look faded. We all want to be beautiful all the time. The Bible is the only book that promises us that opportunity.
Pictures disappoint because they are so limited in what they really capture. Whether it’s a mountain, ocean, building, food, or other spectacular view, pictures cannot arrest the whole of the moment. They miss the smells, sounds, temperatures, tastes, and emotions. A famous picture in my family is a post-deployment picture of my brothers and me. In the seconds that followed the pictures, there was a gigantic fight between my baby brother and I. It did not end well, and ruined my mother’s day — a picture we should probably discard. Yet, we don’t because for that moment, everyone was happy.
God has told us that this world is temporary. That should be no surprise. Praise God that we have memories and devices to aid our memories, but our greatest happiness should come from looking forward to an eternal time, not from glorying in this world. If we find pleasure in pictures of objects in and of this world, which are here today and gone tomorrow, just try to imagine the joy that will one day overflow our souls.