Friday, March 17 2023
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I Once was Blind, but now I See – God’s Amazing Grace
The lectionary this week is filled with images of seeing, vision, light. The irony of seeing but not perceiving. I see! I get it! We come to learn that seeing, grasping, understanding from our human individual perspective has limits. Lent offers us a time to slow down, to journey with others in community and to look more deeply into our own hearts – to see, share, learn, and perhaps to heal.
It is not unusual to view things differently when we gather in community. Hundreds of years ago, our ancestors thought the world was flat – simply because flatness was what was in front of them. In time, we learned otherwise, but most of us have not had the opportunity to journey into outer space to see firsthand the glorious roundness of the earth, our island home.
After morning prayer coffee hour takes us into conversation about what we see. Shared from our varied perspectives we discover a bigger picture of what we face each day. The rain is preventing me from going out. The rain is flooding our streets. The rain is watering our earth.
Last week, we enjoyed a perspective of “seeing” from Fr. Chavez, Canon for Border Ministries in the Diocese of Arizona. Borders are all around us – do we see them? How does being here - in my own little space - impact my consideration of a deeper, universal truth? We all stand together on our earthly home. Why borders? What do they teach us if we are willing to risk grappling with the larger view? How does engaging in relationship with those we “see” as “others” help our hearts to change?
In our Old Testament reading, the Lord sends Samuel to locate a new king. Samuel, with grieving heart and eyes, is unable to see anything new or transformative in his immediate surroundings. But the Lord sends Samuel. Go, look, and trust that I will help you see. “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature… for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
The Gospel this week is filled images of seeing and not seeing. When our eyes are opened by Jesus, we are offered the gift of transformation – but often, like the Pharisees, we don’t trust our own eyes – we don’t want to see what is in front of us as we reject God’s gift. We are not ready and so we choose not to receive God’s unconditional love and mercy. We get swept away with a group mentality that tells us “What you think you see – in front of you -- is not real – not truth.” So we miss a deeper healing of our hearts and a bigger picture of what God’s love and mercy truly is.
As we continue our Lenten journey together, I challenge us all to open our hearts, minds, and eyes. Allow ourselves to receive and to notice things with new eyes – with the healed vision Jesus offers. Steve Garnaas-Holmes encourages us to “Loosen your grip. Stop trying to make things be what you want.” May we open our eyes, receive, and be healed. Maybe, just maybe, we will see, enjoy, and grow together in love as we accept and welcome the incredible beauty, richness and deep truths that surround us.
Journeying with you towards healing, clearer vision, and deeper love,