A few years ago as a family, we took a weekend visit to Paris. Loved it. Seeing the sights, building up a sweat climbing the Eiffel tower, sampling the wine, scaring the kids with snails over the evening meal. Visiting the Louvre.
And it was in the Louvre that I had a kind of epiphany, a moment of awakening you might say.
Now for those who don’t know, the Louvre houses some of France’s (indeed the world’s) most beautiful and expensive pieces of art and it stretches across a massive area with at least three levels of art galleries to visit. Art upon art upon art.
My wife and daughter headed off in one direction, son mumbled “this is boring” as he shuffled off to find wifi and delighted at the prospect of a few hours to myself, I ambled (with no real purpose it has to be said), into one of the vast (and beautiful), art galleries (did I say spread across three floors)?
An hour later, map in hand, I arrived back at my starting point and set out to visit another gallery. Somehow though, I ended up back in the art gallery I had previously visited and found myself trying to navigate to a new section but with no success. Map reading and I have never been the best of friends it has to be admitted.
With about half an hour to go before closing, the family met up at the pre-designated spot. Son was still bored but Mum and Daughter had had a wonderful time viewing masterpieces including Picasso, Van Gogh and the Mona Lisa. I, meanwhile, had circled only one section of the Louvre and missed all of these works. Very annoyingly, (as my daughter pointed out), I had also missed a small Coptic Icon dating from the 6th or 7th century with an image of Christ and a disciple standing looking out at the world, the famous “Friendship Icon” in my eyes as precious as any Van Gogh.
Yes. I had missed Jesus.
And it suddenly dawned on me as I stood in the lobby of the Louvre how many other times in life had I missed Jesus,
circled around Jesus,
been too distracted to see Jesus.
How often had I passed Him by whilst He, remained ever present?