“Something is different.”
That was my first thought when I faced the congregation at Asbury United Methodist Church in Lafayette, LA yesterday. I was dressed in the biblical robes of Simeon, the righteous man who was waiting for the “consolation of Israel,” performing this Advent drama as I’ve been doing for the past dozen years. But something was off.
What was it?
Then it hit me: I could see the people in the pews! The week before, I had exchanged my battered specs for a pair of contacts. There were no Wal-Mart optical shops in ancient Israel, so for the sake of authenticity, I never sport glasses when I appear in tunic and sandals.
At first, it was unsettling. Without glasses, I can’t tell if the guy in the back row is dozing or if the teens in the balcony are sticking their tongues out at me. In an odd way, it provided an “ignorance is bliss” kind of security. I’m not totally blind, so if a practical joker preacher substituted cutouts for people, I could probably tell–despite the fact that I’ve preached to a few cardboard congregations in my day.
The perennial challenge of a Christian is to “walk by faith, not by sight” (II Cor 5:7). It is so easy to keep our old worldly glasses on, to see everything through the defective lenses of self-pity, cynicism, anger or angst. We get used to a blurry view of things, which makes us bump into the same hurdles over and over. But when we slip in God’s contact lenses, we behold a whole new reality. Suddenly, everything bursts into crystal clarity:
Difficult people are seen as precious souls.
Hard times become refining furnaces instead of torture chambers.
Trusting children, not power-grubbing adults, come into focus as the models of Kingdom living.
We see a Cross, not Congress, as the source of all power.
Say…is it time for you to get a new prescription?
Photo courtesy of celiece through stock.xchng