Seeing

I have heard it said that the logic of faith cannot be seen until the choice for faith has been made.  Then the truth and reasonableness of Christian beliefs gradually are revealed.  That has been my experience.

One Sunday the lectionary readings for that day included two of my favorite Bible stories—I Samuel 16: 1-13 and John 9—both of which talk about seeing.  The first is the story of Samuel’s anointing of David as king.  In that story Samuel is sent to Jesse to worship with him and his sons and from among them to anoint the one whom God has chosen to be the next king.  What I like is that God didn’t choose the eldest son, who had the family preferential position and looked the part, or any of the others who were logical choices.  Instead God chose the youngest, who was a mere herdboy (typically around 9 years old) and counted for nothing.

There are several things we learn about seeing.  One is that “the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (verse 7).  Furthermore we learn in the story that Samuel is enabled to see with God’s eyes.  Samuel knows when he sees the son that God has chosen.  He also sees during the whole procedure what is happening.  The others who are there see but do not see.  They do not yet understand what they have witnessed.

Similar insights are in the second story, a whole chapter in the middle of the gospel of John about a man born blind who is given sight by Jesus.  The strange thing is that when the man gains sight the people who have known him or know about him do not recognize him.  What they expect to be true keeps them from seeing what really has happened.  The questions they ask keep them blind.  Yet they assume that they are seeing.

On religious questions, in family relationships, in social justice issues, even in science (for example, notice the changes in medical and nutritional advice), how often we think we see when we are in fact blind.

Queries:

What details in the above stories stand out for you and what truth for yourself are you enabled to see?

Being blind in these stories has more to do with the heart than with the eyes.  How does your heart inform your eyes, or not?

Prayer:

In your imagination, put yourself in one of these stories.  Imagine that you are one of the characters or that you are an observer in the story.  How does the story unfold for you with you in it?

For further reference:

[Jesus answered,] “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them” (Matthew 11: 5).

“for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5: 7).