Reflection Sunday 6 June 2021
2 Corinthians 4:18
Seeing with the eyes of the heart
4:18 … we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
The other day I was sitting outside in the sun reading a book. Suddenly I had a huge urge to sneeze. When I sneezed, my whole body contorted and was propelled upwards by the force of the sneeze, as if an invisible power had taken hold of me and shaken me. As I sat back down, I could see droplets falling down all around me, shining in the sunlight, like a fine mist. I was amazed at how much moisture there was. No wonder we have been told to stay at home if we have a cold, or to make sure we sneeze or cough into a tissue. At that moment I could see how easily colds and flu and Covid-19 can spread.
There is so much in this world that we cannot see. There is so much that is invisible to the human eye. Just because we cannot see it does not mean it is not there. Air for example: we are constantly breathing in and out air, without seeing it. We can see the trees swaying in the wind, but we can’t actually see the wind. We can only see the effect of the wind.
Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 4:18 … we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
In 1 Samuel 8 -The people of Israel wanted to be like the other nations. They wanted a king to rule over them and fight for them. They wanted a king they could see not a God whom they could not see. They rejected God and chose a man. They chose to live by sight not by faith. They had their minds fixed on temporal things, not on eternal things,
As followers of Jesus, we are reminded to see as God sees, to see the world as Jesus saw the world, to see ourselves as God sees us, to see with the Spirit, to see with the eyes of the heart.
In the gospel reading today it appears that despite the amazing things that Jesus did, there were people who could not see what he did as good. … people were saying, "He has gone out of his mind." And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons." How could they say it was Beelzebul? How could they say he had gone mad? One of the strangest things in the world is that no matter how good a person is, no matter how good the things they do are, there are always those who will oppose. Those who oppose are often those who have the most to lose or those who want to hang onto power in some way. Their power and place and privilege are threatened. This is found in religion too where some want to control the lives of others and hang on to power. We like to put people in boxes. We like to give people labels. We diagnose people as mad. When we do so we are not seeing as God sees.
As those who are part of the church, we must ensure that we are seeing as God sees, to see as Jesus saw the world, to see with the Spirit. Some people call this seeing with the eyes of the heart. Seeing from a place of love, from a place of kindness, from a place of wonder, seeing that originates in grace, seeing with compassion and understanding, seeing without judgement, without bias, without labelling and without categorising. Seeing with acceptance.
To see with the heart*, we have to move from seeing with the ego of the mind. Sometimes we are full of our own importance, our own opinions, our ways. Sometimes our ego is threatened, and we fight back, retaliate, dismiss, put down the other and at other times our ego feels so small we give up and run away. When we acknowledge our ego and the trouble it can cause us and others, we then can pray to God that we might see with the eyes of the heart. This does not mean that we will see all things clearly or know all things, but instead see with the eyes of love. This is something to learn, to practice. It requires humility, following the example of Jesus, who humbled himself and became human like us, who humbled himself even to death on the cross.
Today, as we gather around the table of Christ as his sisters and brothers, and we take his body and blood, we humble ourselves as Christ humbled himself for us.
Lord let me see. Lord, let me see as you see. Open the eyes of my heart. Open me to love. May grace and love flow freely from within me, and when I am rejected or face opposition because of love, remind me that it is not me that who is being rejected but you. Lord, let me see. Let me see with the eyes of my heart. Amen.
* Seeing with the eye of the heart - See 'The Wisdom of Jesus' by Cynthia Bourgeault
Photo Murragh County Cork, Republic of Ireland
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Minister of Campsie Earlwood Clemton Park Uniting Church Congregation