Blogging Backwards towards January 31
The passages proposed for Sunday play with the themes of hearing, seeing and recognizing the presence of God and the living Word of God in our lives both individual and together as the community of faith.
I found this funny image while surfing the internet that illustrates the paradox of the texts:
It's like a Rorschach test (of ink blots). Either you see a random assortment of dots and spots, without any sort of foundational sense or orientation. Or you can make out the portrait of Jesus of Nazareth. OK, maybe it's a bit cheesy or stereotypical. Yet it illustrates a point: at times we see without seeing. At times we're blind to what is right before us. And like the image, at times once we see something we can't help but see it all the time.
In Luke, Jesus goes home and preaches on the sabbath in the synagogue. The home crowd is amazed and marveled, until they recognize him as Joseph's boy, the carpenter's son they've known for so long. There's no way he could be the Messiah. They can't see beyond their expectations, baggage and subjective experience. Paul writes to the church in Corinth to challenge and encourage them to see via love: not as a coming and going feeling, but as a behavior, a way of being together, loving in a self-giving, self-sacrifical way. It's when we love and are loved in a Christ-way that we see, that we recognize God's presence and voice, that we re-cognize (as in cognition: the root of the word) who we are, what the world is, and how God is with and among us.
Challenging word that's also encouraging to us today in a society in which we are each our own referent. The world revolves around us. It may be a nice indulgence, and yet it's also an impasse: if we have do know everything, depend only upon ourselves...how will we ever recognize when we've "made it" in life? God comes to us, speaks to us, to free us from ourselves, from our blindness (not in a moralistic way, but in an existential one), that we might live, choose life, and live abundantly. But are we willing to see that? Do we want to?
In a world in which we have to find our own way, how freeing is it to imagine a God that comes to us, opens our eyes, invites us to see, hear and taste how good life can be and is meant to be.