Yesterday I was out doing some visitations. These took me to 3 different towns in our county and so I had some good windshield time. We live in a rural area and as I drove I saw the rolling hills and the now brown and yellow fields slumbering in the winter cold. The occasional small herd of cows or goats also stuck out. It was beautiful and I truly thanked God for being able to live in such a lovely place.
I grew up in the county next to the one I now live in and it too has a lovely landscape of hills and dales and hedge rows. But when I was young I never truly saw the beauty in them. In fact, I used to joke that I wanted to pave over the entire valley and turn it into a cityscape. I was so self absorbed then that I could not see what was truly just in front of me and all I could think of was how to turn it into something that would be more in tune with my thoughts and ideas.
Well, as we age our opinions and ideas change. And the things that I value today are the very things I ignored all those years ago. Today I cannot only look at the world around me, I can actually see it in a way I couldn’t back in the day, as they say. Of course my own opinions and ideas still impinge on the picture, but at least they cloud it over a lot less than they did 50 years ago.
Looking but not seeing is a problem for most of us and it shows up in our opinions and attitudes about faith. Some people look at the Christian faith and those who profess it and think they know what it is all about, but they never really do. Instead they create for themselves a caricature of the faith, which they believe they can safely ignore. Still more folks carry with them an understanding of the faith which is really that of a child. They sort of remember Sunday school with it’s “Jesus loves you so be good” lessons but they have never become men or women who truly get it. Often they’re the ones we call C&E’s–people who come to church only on Christmas and Easter.
But being a follower of Jesus is process that involves, as St. Peter writes to us in both of his letters, knowledge and understanding. And knowledge requires more than mere looking, it requires seeing with the clear eyes of one who has spent the time necessary to learn about the most important topic in the world.
Jesus, on several occasions in His teaching, says that those who have ears will hear and those who have eyes will see. When you turn your eyes toward Jesus, do you see Him? Or are you just looking? Do you see God’s love for you in His sacrifice on the Cross and His rising from the grave? Do you see how that event forever changed everything? Do you see, or are you just looking?