Sunday, April 15, 2007

Beginning to See

Second Sunday of Easter
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Luke 24:13-32

We’re always needing to learn to see.

When you really think about what there is to see, that we are able to see, you realize how truly great a blessing it is to be able to see. Seeing the shimmer of the Northern Lights and the variation in the colors gives you the realization that you are seeing one of the most beautiful things in creation. Seeing a sunset take shape and then transform into something even more spectacular than when it first caught your eye is one of the most satisfying experiences you can have. Seeing your newborn baby gives you pause to wonder if there is anything more wonderful than life in its newness.

When we can see a whole world is before us. We can take in beauty that really is hard to describe. Sometimes you just have to see it to absorb the greatness that is before you. We are grateful for this gift and marvel at what a gift it is.

Here’s the thing, though. We are always learning to see. We don’t really know how to see. To really see, that is. Yes, we can with our eyes, and we ought often to give thanks to God for that gift. But people in hell will still have their eyes. They will see all right, but they will forever be tormented in what they see and what they suffer. Those of us who can see in this life need to know that we don’t see all there is. All that we need to see.

We can’t see it with our eyes. It is sight, sure enough. It is truly seeing. But it is a sight that sees what is invisible. It’s not even a sight that is like a superpower, such as Superman might have. It is seeing those things that are more real than what we can see with our eyes in that they are eternal.

The sun will not always set, because this world will end. The Northern Lights will not always glimmer, because everything we see with our eyes will be destroyed. Everything except people. Our soul and body are eternal. Everything else will be no more. So enjoy everything you can see while you can. That’s why God gave us His creation, so that we may enjoy it. But we need to see beyond it, also. We need to look to those things that can’t be seen with our eyes, because they are the things that will last. They are eternal.

So how do we do that? Well, we’re learning to see. When you’re born, you open your eyes and you can see. There’s no learning curve, you either can see or you can’t. But with the things that are unseen, it’s not something that comes naturally to us. We’re always being shown how to see in this way.

The one who does so is Himself invisible. He’s not unseen though. We can see Him. But we have to learn how to see Him. The kicker is that He shows Himself to us in places and ways where we don’t expect Him. That’s why it’s tough to learn to really see. Because we want to see God with our eyes. We don’t want to go through the struggle of finding God.

It’s much easier to look to the west and see that gorgeous sunset. This is how seeing should be. Why does God want us to go through the trials of hardship and pain and have us somehow believe that He’s there when it most seems He’s not? Why does God offer so many signs of weakness and even absurdity when we would expect the all powerful God to simply show us in a way where there’s no doubt? Jesus is truly God but came as a little baby. He Himself said He could call upon His army of angels but quietly let the soldiers arrest Him. He is eternal and yet He suffered death on the cross.

Did you notice that that is how the disciples of Emmaus were seeing things? They had seen Jesus for three years. Now He was gone. Dead. In a tomb. But even there He was gone, nowhere to be seen. There was no hope. They’d have to keep searching. But it was all based on seeing with their eyes. That is why Jesus prevented them from seeing Him with their eyes. Because then they wouldn’t have really seen Him.

It was only when Jesus opened up the Scriptures to them. Only when He showed them that they point to Him, that He gave them true sight to see. They would have seen Him that day even if they had been blind. Because they finally saw Him when He broke bread and gave it to them.

Here is the Word made flesh giving us bread and wine to eat and drink. That’s how we see. Not with our eyes. With our ears and mouths. We hear His Word spoken, as He did with the Emmaus disciples. We eat His body and drink His blood in the Supper He offers us.

I know. I’m right there with everyone else who looks at that altar. Sees the bread, looks at the wine, and says, It doesn’t look like much. And how could you not agree? Jesus didn’t look like much to the Emmaus disciples either. But He was Christ. The Lord. Jesus.

So He is in His Holy Supper. It doesn’t look like much, but it is the very Supper of our Lord in which He shows Himself to us. So that we may truly see Him. Not with our eyes. Not in some passing vision, as a sunset will pass away in a matter of minutes. But we will be seeing what does not pass away. Our Lord Himself.

Right now we’re just learning to see. We’re beginning to see. Then we will see face to face. We can’t begin to imagine the glory we will see with our new eyes in heaven. We will see our Lord face to face. For now we see Him not with our eyes but with true sight nonetheless.

Don’t walk around as the disciples of Emmaus did, wondering where it all went wrong—where in the world is God. Come to His table often. There you will see Him. There He makes Himself known in the breaking of bread. Amen.


No comments: