Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 345: Zephaniah 1; Psalm 130; Mark 8

Can't You See?
Seeing is hard work. Add to that the practice of perceiving and we lose the better part of each day just trying to accomplish anything at all. We can all admit that God asks a lot from us. Not too long ago, we were reminded that all God requires is that we love mercy, do justice and walk humbly before our God (Micah 6). Now, it seems, we are being asked to see and perceive the kingdom of God around us, and our witness to it. Jesus feeds another multitude, even when the disciples stumble and falter in faith after seeing the first great feed take place. The Pharisees demand signs, not to see and perceive so much as to probe and poke this supposed Messiah into revealing/exposing himself to their critiques. Furthermore, the disciples STILL don't see it, and when Jesus warns them about the yeast of the Pharisees they worry about the fact that the one loaf they have with them in the boat might be somehow "bad" to eat, contaminated and inedible. Finally into this mix, and just as Jesus is about to begin teaching them about just who the Son of Man really is and what will happen soon to him, a blind man receives his sight...in stages. A representation of both the importance of sight to our walk in faith, and a testament to our blindness and lack of acuity in exercising same.

Seeing is believing. The psalmist is aware of God's presence and judgment, even in calling from the depths of their struggles. Knowing God's absolute judgment, they seek to see and witness it all the same, hoping for a matching promise of mercy. And in asking for that boon? The psalmist commits to keep the watch, to look for and to (by God's grace) see the mercy of God coming like the dawn. The psalmist waits and watches like a sentry looking for the first hints of the dawn light creeping into the vast expanse of the night sky. Israel's (and our) redemption is coming...and believing in that hope, can we do any less than join that nightwatch?

Seeing is scary, sometimes. When we commit to opening our eyes, to really seeing God's world around us, we also commit to seeing the world with God's eyes. We see its iniquity. We see our tendency to injustice. We see brokenness in creation. We see our own sins, fears, doubts, dreads being reflected back on us. We see all that, and we also see that God can only put up with all this for so long. We see and know that this sort of not-quite-right way of being we are embroiled in is not sustainable. We see that work needs to be done. The day of the Lord is coming. Seeing that looming means we have to get to work. No small, temporary fixes will suffice. The deep work of transformation needs to be under way.

Seeing is hard work. Seeing is believing. Seeing is scary....and seeing is a blessing. Because, in seeing, in being willing and open to really seeing...we then begin to behold God, face to face. We see and know just how beloved, cherished and desired we are by the one who creates, redeems and sustains us in this life...and who welcomes us into the next.

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