Tuesday, April 28, 2009

They have eyes and can see . . .

     This week, there was a great deal of attention paid to our eyes. Our Collect began the day by asking God to “give us eyes of our faith, that we might behold Him in all His redeeming work.” From there, we moved to Acts, and to the response of those present in the Temple to the miracle just worked on behalf of the crippled man in the name of Jesus Christ. And Peter asks them “why do you stare at us, as though by our own piety or power we had made him walk?” John instructs us “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God.” Jesus, in Luke’s account this week, reminds His audience that “You [i.e. we] are witnesses to these things.” Even Nicole’s choice of music sang to this need for eyes of faith. The Gospel hymn was all about lighting our path so that we might see where we are going, but her choice for a processional song set the tone. “See the rivers four that gladden, with their streams, the better Eden planted by our Lord most dear.” Why the focus on the eyes and our seeing?

     In some ways, seeing is believing. But what we are asking to see are those things revealed only by faith. I used as a couple examples this weekend some of our ministry successes and failures. I say failures, but I mean that measure by worldly measures. In many ways, we as a church are struggling mightily like are neighbors, friends, and acquaintances down the street. But, look at what we have accomplished with our support of our assigned Food Pantry. And, as Shirley is so nice to thank us for our help, she is even more thankful for the opportunity to pass out steaks, or whole chickens, or other items from Angel Food which sometimes go unclaimed. She says the look of surprise and the utter joy expressed on recipient faces is a gift she can never repay us! We struggle; yet we not only feed, we provide the food worthy of a feast! Only eyes of faith can see that small tale of redemption and abundance.

     I shared that Bryan’s church held a tag sale this weekend (that a euphemism for yard sale). The church raised about $2100 Saturday from that sale. What can that little $2100 do for the world? Saturday night, the World Health Organization estimates that some 6000 people on the African continent died from Malaria-related diseases. The medicine used to treat Malaria costs a whopping $.35. Do the math. A small part of Christ’s body in CT gave and worked and loved that death might spare a continent for a night. That, brothers and sisters, is bringing life to the world!

     Even our financial expo, which seemed an utter failure, was definitely used by God. As I shared about my conversations, for those working the expo, they got a bit of insight as to the God we proclaim each and every time we gather. Like Him, they had something useful to offer those in need. Like Him, their offer of help was rejected by many. And how much more does He offer us? The participants at our expo offered to ease suffering; God offers eternal life!

     The eyes of faith are what allow us to see His redemptive hand at work in the world and to meet people where they are. You think you’re too stubborn for God’s grace? “Let me tell you about my brother St. Peter or Jacob” Too hoity-toity? “I have this brother St. Paul you might like to meet?” Too old? “I have this beloved sister named Sarah.” Too burdened by the concerns of the world? “I have these sisters Mary and Martha.” Too unlovable? “Let me tell you about me and what God has done in my life.” You are witnesses to these things. Why not share the stories and see what God does in the lives of those around you.


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