Monday, August 01, 2016

A Thought for Monday 1 August 2016

“Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness.  Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.”  Psalm 119:36-37

It is often said that our eyes can deceive us, but this depends on how our eyes are conditioned.  For instance, if we were to watch a person being hanged for committing the most heinous crime, would we see a guilty person getting what is deserved?  Or would we gaze upon a lost soul with pity and compassion?  Our own sense of social justice would demand such a sentence, but eyes conditioned to look inward would see that somewhere along the way something went terribly wrong.

The palmist recognizes his own inclinations toward human things.  We see with our eyes what we most wish, and often we covet what others have.  Human eyes looking upon human things and thinking only on those things we believe will bring us pleasure.  We may even look upon such things with a sense of entitlement, believing we have somehow been cheated out of that which we should have had.  In such a state of being, gratitude for what we do have – however little or much – will be completely lost on us. 

In Christian theology, grace (unmerited favor) is a gift from Above.  We cannot earn it, and there is nothing we can do to bring it upon ourselves.  It is given freely from the benevolent God who wishes for nothing more than to be reconciled with all His creation – even the one who hanged for a crime.  Yet even before this wondrous gift is bestowed, we Methodists believe The Lord is already at work within us, creating in us a longing we often cannot identify without help from the Church, the congregation of the faithful.  It is a longing which cannot be filled with human things, human riches, or human desires though we do try.  This longing is within us before we can even identify its source; and because this longing is already within us, we reach constantly for ways to fulfill this longing. 

The psalmist is expressing this longing.  There is something within himself that is crying out for that which can fill the human heart and teach human eyes to look at the world through an entirely different set of lenses; those of faith.  The longing we often experience is given from Above as the Divine effort to drive us to seek that reconciliation and finally find the fulfillment which can only be satisfied by faith; a full trusting that we are loved so deeply and so completely that Christ died even for the hanged man!  The Divine Eye seeing as only The Lord can see; the way The Lord wishes for us to see as well.

Look upward!  Recite the prayer given from the Scripture: “Lord, I believe!  Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)  Like the rest of us, the man in this story could not help but to believe what he had seen with his eyes (Jesus healing his son), but the longing within him revealed that there is much more which cannot be seen with the human eyes.

Let this be our plea: that we find that most wondrous of all gifts, that of faith; the faith to see what others cannot (or will not) see so we may offer to everyone a glimpse of Heaven’s glory.  When we are enabled to see that, we will see even in this world what The Lord wants us, needs us, to see.  Then will our longing be fulfilled only by the Grace of The Lord!

The Lord is great, is He not?


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