Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year A, May 30, 2011
In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. John 14:19
My youngest daughter recently saw a new optometrist for her annual eye exam. She has complained on and off for several years about various vision problems affecting her ability to see both up close and at a distance. It has been quite a struggle to fit her with suitable lenses. This particular practitioner recommended a slightly different approach to her prescription, one that resulted in correction for both problems. Yes, her new lenses were considerably more costly, but she can see clearly without eyestrain. She can now see both the board at the front of the classroom and her text or computer screen. All things now come clearly into focus when she’s wearing her new glasses.
It isn’t that different with our “spiritual vision.” Spiritual blindness is far too common a malady for humankind. When we can’t see clearly, we tend to look around for quick fixes instead of turning to the one who can restore our vision, allowing us to see clearly. We look for “vision correction” in all the wrong places, seeking fulfillment through new possessions, excessive collections, bigger houses, and more and more stuff. We eat and drink our way to ill health, we feed our addictions and need with temporary and transient fixes, and we amuse ourselves to excess to while away the empty hours. Try as we might, our attempts at vision correction often end up only making the situation worse. Countless hours and wasted resources bear witness to our efforts.
The good news is that our great physician is ready and able to adjust our sight and fit us with corrective, discipleship lenses through which we may see the world aright. In the gospel lesson appointed for this Sunday, Jesus reassures his disciples that even though he must leave them for awhile, they will not be abandoned or left alone. The same promise applies to us today.
The Spirit, the Advocate, is with us forever. No, we have not seen Jesus in the flesh, but we do see Jesus through the corrective lens of discipleship. We see Jesus in the breaking of bread and drinking of wine in Holy Communion. We see Jesus in the face of our neighbor, in the faces of those on the margins–the poor and outcast. We understand Jesus to be among us wherever two or more gather in his name (Matthew 18:20).
Yes, as Christians who wear a Christ-centered, cross-shaped identity we are able to see the world clearly. We no longer need to worry or fret about fear-mongering and end-time prophecies, about whether the world is marching merrily to hell in a hand basket. We have our instructions. Jesus tells all disciples “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). We are called to love and serve in the name of Christ. It’s just that simple.
The tough part is keeping our focus in a world that tries at every breath to draw us away and fragment our vision. Be it as individuals, as congregations, or even as denominational bodies the key lies in keeping our eyes on Jesus and our actions in line with his commands. When we seek to serve our Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit our chances of clear vision are pretty good.
Don’t be discouraged. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. Keep your eyes on the One who loves you and who will never leave you. There you will find life and clear sight. Thanks be to God!
Gather a collection of prescription lenses and reading glasses. Invite the children to try them on. Ask them about their vision. What do they see? Is their sight better or worse with the corrective lenses? Use this exercise as a springboard to talk about how Jesus gives us clear vision to see him. When we see clearly in Christ, we are better able to see and meet the needs of the world. Challenge each child to pray for clear vision to see the needs of their family, their congregation, and the world.
Photo by sampsyo used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!