The Jesus Effect

The Jesus Effect
On an otherwise cloudy afternoon the sun suddenly breaks through, casting rays down onto the Andaman Sea and its Karst sentinels. “The Jesus Effect,” I say, loudly enough so Katrin can hear me over the engine’s roar and the ocean sloshing against the Thai longtail’s hull.


“The Jesus Effect,” I say more loudly. “When the sun comes through the clouds in shimmering rays like that.”

“Oh, yes,” She says. Then, with just the right amount of awe in her eyes, in her voice, “It’s beautiful.”

Yes, it is. But it’s more, and I know she gets it, so I feel no need to explain as I snap a few photographs, then just relax and take it all in.

It was my brother-in-law who first used the term one day while driving through New Hampshire’s majestic White Mountains. He was an atheist, with a doctorate in particle physics, but I knew it wasn’t just a flip remark. Still, I called him on it.

“Yeah, I don’t believe in God… or Jesus. But there are moments, you know, like this, that the world — the whole universe — just seems bigger than I know it is, more… important.”

He won’t use the word, but I will. “Divine,” I say.

He sighs, nods. “I suppose, that word has the right feeling… so long as you’re not implying an old, white-bearded guy has anything to do with it.”

I laugh. Grin my assent to him.

I’m essentially an atheist myself. But I don’t need to confine my world to what is “knowable” the way the scientist in him does. I like the word, divine, and it doesn’t need a god or religion to say exactly how rays of sunshine breaking through clouds to illuminate snow-capped peaks makes me feel. Larger than life. Connected. To everything.

Back on the Andaman Sea, Katrin nudges me. “Where are you?”

I smile at her, look back out to sea. “Cradled in the hand of God.”

She laughs. Perceptibly sighs. Puts an arm around me.

Larger than life. Connected. To everything.

The Andaman Sea

Taken during travels, 1995

A response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, Forces of Nature