Ben Cantelon - Study: Not Everyone Sees In Colour

Featuring Ben Cantelon Posted on May 8, 2012

It wasn’t much of a thing at the time. I’d just come downstairs a little earlier than usual one morning and found myself awed by the view. There was nothing all that different about what I saw - just the light. It was brighter and bolder and it seemed to make everything stand out in a way I’d never really experienced before.

The view was impressive and beautiful, but I didn’t think it was life changing. So I took some photos and got on with my day. It was only later, sitting on the tube, that I began to feel the impact of what I’d seen. I’d stared at that garden view hundreds of times before, but it took a unique sunrise to see it as I had done that morning. Soon I was thinking about how much God’s light can alter our own perspective on life, how a situation that we have considered to be set or unmoveable can be altered in an instant when we let God in. That’s when the lyrics came:

The world comes alive, you have opened my eyes, everything I see is in colour.  No more black and white because I’ve see the light, everything I see is in colour.

What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus? Doesn’t it mean in some way that we allow our eyes to be opened? Doesn’t it mean that we are ready to see the world differently, to let our vision to be directed by God’s Spirit? Doesn’t it mean seeing it in colour - being open to the full range of possibilities, opportunities, needs and challenges that God has created us for?

These are strange times we’re living in. What with all this talk of double-dip recessions, freaky weather patterns and overseas revolutions it can be tempting to retreat to what is safe and what is known. In other words, we can think we’ll feel a little more secure if we see things in black and white, good and bad, right and wrong. But seeing the world in black and white isn’t what we’re called to. And it’s hard work. Just take a look at Jonah; he put the people of Nineveh firmly in a box and refused to believe that God would see things differently.

Jonah spends time in away from the sun’s full glare; from the chaos of the storm to belly of the whale and the shade of his home-made shelter. It ties in with the other passages in the Bible where writers associate darkness with being further away from God than is really good for us. Living with eyes closed to God, with hearts shut off to His love and mercy simply isn’t living at all - as Jonah makes clear...

Having been rescued from certain death both on the water and in it, you might have thought that Jonah would be a little more enthusiastic when he finally arrived at Nineveh to deliver God’s message. But there was no poetic persuasion, there were no impassioned pleas, just a single line:

‘On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be over-turned.” (Jonah 3:4)’

Hardly the most persuasive plea, is it? And would he do this? What was his problem? The answer can be found here:

‘But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” [Jonah 4:1-4]

Racial hatred, arrogance, ignorance, call it what you like, Jonah could not stand the thought of God showing mercy to those he feared. Jonah had the world all mapped out in black and white, but God saw in colour.

Each of us shares this same present moment. And it is full of grace, offering fulness and life and colour. It doesn’t matter whether we’re in the middle of our first ever God-encounter, or slowly wiping away yet another set of tears after what seems like a lifetime of struggling...God’s mercies are new every day, including this one.

I guess that was what I was thinking when I wrote the first verse for the song:

See the morning light awake, new beginnings, it’s a beautiful day. All around new mercies wait, every moment is a movement of grace

In times like these - especially at times like these - when so much around us seems to be struggling and some are trying to tell us that there is no hope, we have to hold on to the hope we have that in Christ. We have to remember that in Him we are made whole, we see life with fresh perspective and we experience fulness of life.

We have to remember to look at things in colour. God’s colour.