How do we see? From whose perspective do we view the world? Do we take time to consider God’s point of view? Do we forget that our neighbors can see differently? Sometimes eyes are “lovely” and sometimes they are “weak.” Sometimes we are the deceiver and sometimes we are the deceived. This week’s texts are wonderfully rich in images, metaphors, and meaning.
In older translations Leah’s eyes were described as “weak” and this would somehow make her less desirable than her younger sister. Jacob fell in love with Rachel and wanted to marry her. Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah. In the NRSV Leah’s eyes are “lovely” rather than “weak” but they were not enough to make Jacob fall in love with her. I find myself wondering how she saw the whole situation. She, as the eldest, should marry first, but did she want to marry the man who loved her beautiful sister? Was she a willing participant in deceiving Jacob who had shown talent for deceit earlier in his life? What did she see when she looked at him? Where was God in all this? With Laban? With Jacob? With Leah? With Rachel? Somewhere else waiting for people to get a grip?
Solomon seems to have had better sight than all the players in the Genesis story. Solomon, though only a child, realizes that he needs God’s wisdom and grace. He doesn’t need the riches of the world quite as much as he needed the blessings of the Spirit. This is pretty good insight for a young king. Clearly, he saw the fullness of his responsibility in leading God’s people. How often do we see as Solomon did and ask for the wisdom of God to guide us? It’s easy to see the riches of this world and get distracted from God’s vision for us. How can we make Solomon’s prayer our prayer in order to see the world as God sees it?
In Roman’s Paul has a pretty good idea. The Spirit sees us and intercedes for us with those “sighs too deep for words.” Paul eloquently reminds us that we are not alone. When we cannot see ourselves, our neighbors, Creation, or God, God sees us clearly. When we fail to notice God’s love at work in our lives, the Spirit still sees us and works to turn us to where God is waiting for us and acting for justice. Nothing we can say or do or see can separate us from the love of God made known to us in Christ. Are there any words more comforting when we are confronted with the empty, despairing places in ourselves or in the world? God still sees us even we cannot see ourselves, let alone anyone else. How do we open ourselves to this Good News?
If we need reminding of the vision God has for us, the Gospel text is full of images for what heaven is like. Like the first disciples, we tend not to see what God wants for us. We tend to limit God’s capacity to love and save us as if heaven were a finite space. Everything Jesus taught, every verbal image he painted, pointed toward the boundless love God has for the whole of creation. Do our lives portray the same images? Can people look into our eyes, weak or lovely, and see the beauty, wonder, and love that is heaven? Do we look into the eyes of others, and see the presence of God? How do we make manifest the love God has for us so others may see God more clearly?
There’s a lot to be see in this world. Much of it we would rather not. But there are still glimpses of heaven to see and share. There will always be deceivers and seekers of wisdom, sometimes one and the same. God’s vision for us will always be better than any we can dream up for ourselves. How can we be God’s vision and God’s eyes in the world that includes our weakness and our loveliness?
Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is an author and the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ in Minneapolis, MN. You can find links to her blog, video series, and books at Beachtheology.com.
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