Life Notes—February 28, 2013
“The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’” Matthew 13:13
As my mother aged she developed a blind spot in her field of vision. It wasn’t a particularly large spot, but if there was an object in that spot, she could not see it. She learned to compensate for it, knowing it was there, by scanning her field of view more carefully and turning her head for a double-check. It is amazing how something so obvious for some of us can be invisible to someone else. And yet, science tells us the human eye can only actually see a small fraction of the light spectrum, so all of us are blind to more than we can possibly imagine—much of which is right before us!
Jesus commented frequently on our blindness. He restored physical sight to many who were blind, but many of his comments, as above, had nothing to do with physical blindness. Rather, Jesus was referring to a spiritual blindness, or blindness caused by focusing our ‘vision’ in the wrong direction. Dan Simons and Chris Chabris did research that led to a YouTube hit called The Invisible Gorilla. Google it, if you haven’t seen it. Their research shows that we can be blinded to the obvious, when we are not looking for it or when our attention is focused elsewhere.
I believe the blindness Jesus refers to is a type of blindness that prevents us from seeing what was blatantly obvious to him. There are a number of reasons for such blindness. One is simply an inability to mentally comprehend what Jesus is saying. For most of us, nuclear physics is such ‘hidden’ knowledge—we simply do not have the mental inclination to ‘see’ it, no matter how hard we look for it. But I believe the kingdom of God Jesus tries to help us see is not that sort of inaccessible knowledge. Rather, our blindness is caused by faulty seeking. Some of us look outside on a cold winter day and see a desolate, lifeless, dreary and boring landscape. Others look at the very same scene and see the stage being set for a breathtakingly beautiful spring and summer. The difference is not in the reality of what is being seen, but in how one looks on the reality and what one is looking for. When we believe God is at work in and on our world, we find hope for something awesome and beautiful, though unseen. We can learn to focus our attention on the possible, seeing with the eyes of faith, and scanning our life-horizons for beauty that otherwise exists in our blind spots.
This Sunday is the second Sunday of Lent. Tom is preaching downtown, where Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00. Mitch preaches at the west campus where worship is at 9:00 and 11:00. The sermon at both campuses is “Give Up the Enemies Within for Lent,” based on Luke 11:37-52.
Come home to church this Sunday. Jesus can reveal the invisible gorilla before us.
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator