Weekly Encouragement: “Looking” and “Seeing”

“That we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”
Romans 1:12

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Last Wednesday our Lenten Series preacher, The Rev. Dr. John Kinney, invited us to “Look Again.” Looking again at something we’ve looked at before―a Bible verse, a person, a city―can help us see things we did not see at first.

Also, consider the difference between ‘looking’ and ‘seeing.’ “Look over there,” someone asks, “Did you see it?” Maybe you looked, but you didn’t see. You have to look in order to see, but looking is no guarantee that you will see.

Looking may only be a one-way visual sweep. Seeing goes deeper. Seeing starts with a closer look, but it may then move beyond sight. Seeing can be a mental, emotional, and spiritual response to what is seen. This kind of seeing involves some connection with what is seen. What have you seen ― truly seen ― lately?

Maybe you have looked at the beautiful flowers of this spring season. Have you seen the full fecundity of nature breaking forth: weeds pushing through every sidewalk crack and anywhere an inch of earth lies exposed? (And remember that a ‘weed’ is only a plant whose usefulness we have not yet discovered.)

Maybe you have looked at a run-down house or a beat-up car. Have you seen the economic difficulties behind such outward appearances: people’s desire to make a living despite work that often does not fully sustain living?

Maybe you have looked at people living on the street or asking for handouts on a corner. Have you seen the human reality of hopelessness or of mental illness that robs one of opportunities and of dignity?

Maybe you have looked at the faces of people near and dear to you. Have you seen their souls within?

1st Corinthians reminds us that “now we see in a mirror, dimly” (13:12). And what do we see in a mirror? Ourselves. It takes a concerted effort to see beyond ourselves. It takes a concerted effort to see what, and who, we are really seeing.

1st Corinthians continues with a promise, that “then we will see face to face.” Face to face with God’s creation. Face to face with our true selves. Face to face with our sisters and brothers. Face to face with God.

When will the promised “then” arrive? It can begin to arrive today. It can begin to arrive any day we choose to see. It can begin to arrive any day we see, deeply and truly, the ways we are all connected, through God, to everything and everyone around us.

God’s Peace,

The Rev. Bill Queen
Interim Rector, St. Paul’s Church