And then rattle off more glowingly descriptive and never adequate adjectives.
While heading for Colorado and a family gathering, we stayed in Flagstaff, Arizona for several days and couldnâ€™t resist an opportunity to visit the nearby park. My wife Jeanie had never seen the breathtaking â€œhole in the ground.â€ I had visited the Grand Canyon twice, once as a kid, and once in my mid-twenties while in seminary.
Flagstaff, a boisterous burg in Arizonaâ€™s northern half, is an easy drive to the parkâ€™s entrance. Though limited by time, my cranky knees, and a dog in the backseat (pets arenâ€™t allowed on the canyonâ€™s below-the-rim trails), we at least wanted to buy an overpriced T-shirt and to make sure Jeanie witnessed one of the natural wonders of the world.
My recollection from long-ago seminary days is that synoptic is a Greek word meaning â€œone eye.â€ One view. Itâ€™s a fancy word, concocted by scholars, to emphasize the difference between Matthew, Mark and Luke sharing the (almost, sort of, generally) same story (thus with â€œone eyeâ€) versus the very different (cross-eyed?!) John. One example I always remember is Johnâ€™s Gospel placed Jesus in Jerusalem for three Passover celebrations. Matthew, Mark and Luke recall only one dangerous visit.
I could share other examples, reasons or meanings. But right now Iâ€™m just intrigued by the fancy word itself. I feel like such the Biblical expert when I say . . . synoptic. Iâ€™m the insider! And then the moment I muse about the wordâ€™s distinctive meaning, I realize Iâ€™ve become the outsider. Faith that matters most to me, within others and myself, is never about special or secret language, but about seeking and sharing understanding.
None of us see from â€œone eye.â€ But we all see (even the blind) and can learn from each other.