The Fear of (Spiritual) Blindness

Jesus affirms John's message of repentance. It is a constant companion to the life of faith. 

But he takes it a step further. When we look into the mirror we are to see ourselves as beloved children of God, the way God already sees us, wrinkles and all.

Before this text Jesus talks about the need for clear spiritual vision (10:32). It is crucial that we acknowledge Jesus before others. After this text comes a prayer Jesus offers to God. In it, he thanks God for revealing the secrets of the kingdom to infants. If the intelligent don't see them, they have some responsibility for their lack of vision.

After the prayer thanking God for the spiritual vision of some, Jesus turns to those around him and offers this invitation,

"Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (11:28-30).

In the season of Advent, when many are carrying heaven burdens of sorrow, guilt, regret, and frantic busyness, Jesus offers to clear our spiritual lenses. Then we will be able to see in the mirror both our own need for repentance and God's offer of forgiveness, grace, and rest.

The famous hymn by Phillips Brooks, asserts that the "hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight." This week the fear of spiritual blindness meets the hope of spiritual vision.

This verse from "O Little Town of Bethlehem" is a good one to meditate on this week.

How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given;

So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven.

No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin,

Where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.

Read John C. Holbert's Old Testament reflection for this week here.

Visit Alyce McKenzie's blog Knack for Noticing at the Preachers Portal here.

12/3/2010 5:00:00 AM
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  • Alyce McKenzie
    About Alyce McKenzie
    Alyce M. McKenzie is the George W. and Nell Ayers Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.
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