This morning while driving to work, I put on my sunglasses and quickly realized that they were smudged, making everything a bit blurry and unfocused. I could see well enough to drive safely, but I couldn’t wait for the next red light so I could clean them. Wouldn’t you know… for the first time in the history of my commute, I hit nothing but green lights all the way! So I was stuck with a smudgy view for this ride.
It took an embarrassingly long time for me to realize the solution was simple – just take off my sunglasses. Ah! My vision cleared and everything looked crisp and bright and focused. The experience got me thinking about “vision” and how we see the world. It reminded me of a gospel story we hear during the season of Lent.
Meet Bartimaeus, a blind beggar who lived on the streets of Jericho. Life was difficult for Bartimaeus, but his blindness and his life on the streets made him adept at hearing and listening. He had heard stories of a man they called Jesus who could heal people with the touch of his hand. A man who told stories about lost sheep, a mustard seed, and a new kind of kingdom where all were welcome at God’s table. Bartimaeus knew if he could just meet this amazing man, maybe touch his cloak, perhaps he, too, could be healed.
It was this rock-solid faith of a blind beggar that drew the attention of Jesus on the road to Jericho. Instructing his disciples to bring the man to him, he asked Bartimaeus what it was that he wanted.
“Son of David, I want to see.”
Seven simple words and his life was changed forever.
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”
Though he was blind, Bartimaeus did not lack vision. He was able to “see” with eyes of faith. He could see… and believe… that Jesus came to bring us new life and a new way of living. He believed that Jesus was here to show us the way if we only seek him.
On Palm Sunday our church sang a beautiful song called “Christ in Me Arise.” The first verse contained the following lyrics:
Be now my vision; open these eyes,
Showing me all that I must see.
During this holiest of weeks, let us take an honest look at how we view the world. Are there times that we see through the smudged glasses of fear, jealousy, anger, or indifference? Are we unable to see what’s really going on because of entrenched ways of thinking? Does ignorance make us blind to the suffering of others or the true feelings of others? When we fail to see with eyes of faith, our world is smudged, like my cloudy commute to work. We can’t see what’s really important.
We’re aren’t blocking out the “sun” with these glasses. We’re blocking out the Son.
Let us pray that Jesus, the healer, will open our eyes and help us let go of whatever it is that prevents us from seeing things clearly.
Be now my vision, O Lord of my heart!