Through God's Eyes

Jun 25 2017


You’ve had one of those days. We all have them – the days when work is non-stop, you are exhausted at the end of the day and search only for a quiet place where you can once again gather your strength and prepare to tackle the next challenge. In keeping with the spirit of this morning’s Gospel reading, I am going to start with a modern parable.

“SOMEBODY SPECIAL” – from Present on Earth (p. 105)

“You are in a strange city with noises all around and people hustling from one place to another. Looking for a bit of peace, you see an interesting building. You enter and come to a circular room which looks as if it might be empty. ‘I’ll go in there and find some peace,’ you think.

You walk around until you find the door, and as you walk in, you just hear the last syllable of a word when all heck seems to be let loose. Lying on their backs on the floor are forty or fifty children between seven and ten years of age. Round the walls are some women…probably mothers. Music is blaring and a rainbow ball is being thrown up in the air from one child to another.

Whoever the ball descends on sends it spinning back up in the air to land on someone else, somewhere else. And the children shout and cheer, especially when the ball lands on them. Then the music stops, and the child on whom the ball drops holds onto it. And from the side a man makes his way towards the child holding the ball. He has light golden hair, is slightly balding, and has a pointed nose and rimless glasses.

He goes over to the child, a little girl, and while she holds the ball, he puts his hand on her head and says: ‘You are Denise and you are somebody special because God gave you freckles, so that if the sun doesn’t shine, all you have to do is smile and the world will be a warm place.’ She smiles… the world does become warm, the children all cheer, back on goes the music again, and the ball is thrown up into the air.

After a minute or so, the music stops again and the man goes over to a boy who is grasping the ball tightly. He kneels down, puts his hand on the boy’s head and all the other children listen intently as he says: ‘You are Antoine and you are someone special, because God needed a brown friend for all the white boys and girls here…and he chose you to be that friend.’ Antoine smiles bashfully, the children cheer, and a boy lying next to Antoine puts his hand on Antoine’s shoulder to show that they are friends 

On goes the music, up goes the ball, and a minute later, when the music stops, the ball is being clasped by a little girl who has a very large hearing aid in her ear. The man comes over, kneels beside her, puts his hand on her head and she watches his lips intently as he says: ‘You are Pamela, and you are somebody special, because you can speak with your hands and you are going to give everyone this message.’

Then he says something silently, which she lip reads. She then stands up in the middle and the other children sit up to watch. With great simplicity and confidence, Pamela makes signs which can only mean: ‘It’s time to leave.’ They gather up their belongings, and many of them, before they go out the door with their mothers, go over to the man – one at a time – and whisper something in his ear.

When all have gone, you go over to him and sit on a bench beside him.

‘You’ve a great way with children,’ you say.

‘I like children,’ he replies.

‘Tell me, do you know all their names?’

He almost blushes…’Yes…all of them…and they’re all special. Each one is a somebody.’

‘What was they whispered to you at the end?’

‘I wouldn’t tell a soul,’ he says and then… ‘In any case, you don’t need to hear what the children say. You’ve got a lot to say yourself. This has been a busy day for you… confusing, loud…You came into this room because you wanted to find somewhere quiet…You wanted to spend some time on your own…to find God maybe…in order to complain, to ask something, to make sense of what confuses you, to remember somebody you don’t want to forget.’

And here he puts his hand on your head. And here he calls you by name. God has found you. So let the conversation begin.”

It’s only a story, but it certainly teaches us a truth about God – just like this morning’s Hebrew lesson. God does not see as we see. God looks through the color of our skin, the color of our eyes, our gender, our looks, the fact that some of us must communicate differently, and God touches each of us in our hearts and reminds us that we are special and that God loves us.

When Samuel followed God’s instructions to go to Bethlehem, he was reluctant, not unlike many of the other Biblical characters about whom we have read. But God assures Samuel that he will be OK. When Samuel arrives in Bethlehem, he tries to second guess who God wants him to anoint. “He looked on Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’”

If we are going to strive to be more like Jesus taught, and more like God wants us to act, then this is a lesson that we must all strive to learn, but it is not an easy lesson. We can often be hard on ourselves because we do not think that we look as good as we can to ourselves, or we do not look good to others. We are hard on others, because our first impression is normally based on whether we like the looks of the other person or not.

Mass media does not make it any easier with its constant advertisements about losing weight, getting rid of wrinkles and staying young. Ours is a culture that does not value the elderly. So as we grow older, we can often be harder on ourselves than is necessary. Fortunately, the media has also figured that out so now we have more commercials that deal with aging gracefully and maintaining our youthful vigor. The truth is that at any age we have things that we can offer to others and they have things that they can offer to us. As we go through life we meet thousands of different people. Some pass through our lives never to be heard from or seen again. But others will have a lasting impact on us. If we deny them the chance to have that impact simply because we do not like their looks the first time we see them, who are we really hurting?

It’s really an issue of respect. If we can strive to respect the people with whom we come into contact, regardless of the circumstances, we will begin to approach the way in which Jesus interacted with the people. We can all cultivate the ability to see the potential and the heart of all people 

Both the story that I started with and the Hebrew lesson speak to the fact that God does not view individuals based on their outward appearance, but based on what is in their hearts.

God looks at the heart. If all of us can learn the lesson of looking into a person’s soul and heart and getting past his/her outward appearance, we will be better people for it, and be well on the way in our attempts to mirror the love of Jesus in our lives. Amen.