Many times in Scripture the importance of having eyes that can see and ears that can hear is stressed. As I reflect on these verses, I consider the times in my life that my vision has been limited. It’s so much easier to see what is there, and not to imagine (or perceive) what could be there, or what is there under the surface.
Our communal life is rooted in the example of the early church in Acts. While we see it in Scripture, it’s sometimes straining on the eyes to see it realized in our life. Certainly four years ago when we formed our home, we couldn’t have foreseen the wonderful things God has done here.
We live in North St. Louis City. Many people discouraged our move here because of the crime, the racial divide, and, honestly, the unknown. For outsiders it’s hard to see the beauty and potential that surrounds this neighborhood. Our neighbors are deeply rooted here; many have spent over 50 years in the same house. Our 100+ year old homes have their challenges, but the architectural beauty is unbeatable. And, most amazing of all, our neighbors (this area is 99% African American) have loved and accepted us in ways that have humbled us. I’m grateful for their eyes that have seen us, despite our whiteness and the horrors of the pre-Civil rights era that they lived through.
Realizing that there can be more to see and imagine, it makes me wonder what else we may be missing because of our limited sight. There has been much talk about guns and violence lately. I wonder, what if Christians took Jesus’ teachings about nonviolence and were consistently pro-life? What could that world look like? What if no babies were aborted and no children aged out of foster care without a permanent Christian family? What if we said no to war, no to taking life in the name of our country? What if we turned the other cheek, and didn’t fear the one that could kill the body but trusted in the One who gives life? What if we loved our enemies in word and deed? What if we acted as if God was the judge and not us for a criminal’s capital punishment? What if we saw the image of God in every person –intruder, terrorist, criminal? Crazy? Perhaps. But, either Jesus was wrong about the whole loving your neighbors/enemies stuff and non-repayment of violence, or it just might work…if only we had eyes to see.