Columba himself admitted to a few brothers who once questioned him closely, in some speculations made with divine favour the scope of his mind was miraculously enlarged, and he saw plainly, and contemplated, even the whole world as it were caught up in a ray of the sun.
- Adomnán, Life of Columba [Colum Cille], Irish, 7th century
…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power…
- Ephesians 1.17-19
Most of us pay but little attention to the sun. It’s just there, or else it isn’t.
But Colum Cille (Columba) saw more in just a ray of the sun – “even the whole world” – because he disciplined himself to seek more. He knew that the glory of the Lord is concealed in just such places, and he made it his practice to discover that glory as fully and faithfully as he could (Prov. 25.2).
Colum understood that the whole world is a “thin place” where God is pressing His face against the membrane that separates our world from His. He taught himself to observe and engage the divine Presence and glory wherever he looked.
There is more to see, more to know, more to enter into than we have ever dared to think, ask, or seek.
There are clearer and more compelling insights into the truth of God’s Word, more brilliant and dazzling glimpses of Christ exalted in glory, and more awe-inspiring encounters with divine beauty and goodness than we’ve ever seen or known.
And what we’re able to see of that world can make all the difference in how we live (Heb. 11.1).
Colum Cille was gifted with what the ancients called “second sight.” So steeped in Scripture was he, so immersed in prayer and fellowship with the risen Christ, and so attentive to the world around him, that he “saw” more than most people see – for example, in a ray of sun.
He saw mysteries of beauty, wisdom, and power where most men only saw things.
He encountered glory and the Presence of Jesus Christ where his contemporaries went blithely on their way.
He communed with God and reveled in the joy of His salvation, while others merely worked or talked or frittered away their time.
He “saw” into the unseen realm, and lived in that “then and there” in every moment of his “here and now.”
Colum was a man of large mind and expansive heart because he was a man of true, profound, and insatiable faith. We too can see, know, and experience more than we do or ever have. But we must seek an enlarged vision if this is to be so. With the eyes of our hearts we can penetrate to unseen mysteries. By faith we may peer beyond the veil that separates time from eternity and live more completely in that unseen realm where all things declare, “Glory!”
This is the real world, but it takes enlarged vision to see it, and enlarged vision is the product of deep meditation, long waiting in prayer, and earnest expectation and hope of the glory of God.
The whole world in a ray of sun – imagine!
Perhaps you might begin to seek a measure of “second sight” for yourself? We can live like Elisha, confident in the Lord, joyful in His power and Presence, and completely at peace whatever life throws our way. Or we can live like Elisha’s servant – frantic, fearful, and fussing about everything (2 Kgs. 6.14-17).
It all depends on where we’re looking, and what we see.
1. Meditate on Psalm 19.1-4. What can creation tell us about God?
2. What can you do to be more consistently alert to the glory of God in the world around you?
Psalm 19.1-4 (St. Christopher: Beneath the Cross of Jesus)
The heavens declare God’s glory, the skies His work proclaim!
From day to day and night by night they shout His glorious Name!
No speech, no words, no voice is heard, yet all across the earth,
the lines of His all-present Word make known His holy worth.
Lord, show me Your glory in every ordinary, commonplace thing I encounter today, and I will…
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Anderson and Anderson, p. 19.