Today, I was looking out the window of my office and noticed a playground. No, not the one in our backyard but one off in the distance just on the other side of the woods in the Fair Woods subdivision. During most of the year, the view from our property to the community is obscured by trees. During the winter when the foliage is gone you have a clear view of the neighborhood. The playground peeking out of the scrubs and bare trees struck me. I have walked the trail that goes by the playground a few times on prayer walks, and yet each time I see it, I am jarred by just how close it is.
For me the playground is a metaphor of our relationship with the world around us as the church. Too often even the things that are close to us are obscured and hidden from our view. In this case the obstruction is real and physical. We know that not all of the obstructions are physical; for many the spiritual obstructions are far more powerful.
Spiritual obstructions are those things which keep us from seeing the world around us as God intends us to see it. Stan Ott calls this needing to have “God Eyes.” If we tell the truth about ourselves and perhaps the institutional church, we do a poor job of looking at the world through God’s eyes. We are conditioned to look at the world with prudence and caution. We need to protect our interest and make sure that we don’t loose anything.
This is in direct opposition to the way God looks at the world. God approaches the world with abandon and a willingness to risk it all. Lent reminds us that as we make our way to Holy Week and the Passion of Christ, that God is drawn to love and sacrifice. God has plenty of reasons to have an obstructed view of humanity. We have continually rejected his love and guidance. We have turned from life to death. Yet, God sees through all of the impediments and makes a way.
lose weight fast
n: justify;”>Of course this begs the question, “what are we not seeing?” Easy answer is, “A WHOLE LOT!” We fail to see a great deal because we either are unaware of the obstructions in our lives, or we don’t want to do the work of clearing the way. We overlook people, situations, opportunities and blessings everyday.
This is more than a theoretical question. If we are missing something that God wants us to see, this is a real problem. Scripture, tradition and experience tell us that when God speaks it is of upmost importance. To ignore these things is a shameful act.
I think the most prevalent obstruction to having God eyes for the world is fear. Fear is the not only powerful, but popular in the world. Many industries have been created that feast upon fear. Don’t misunderstand me, there are many things we should be afraid of. Wisdom tells us that caution can be good. It is when we use our fear as an excuse that it has a destructive purpose.
The sequester has many of us filled with fear. That fear is rooted in a reality. Yet, we cannot allow it to paralyze us. This past week in worship we encountered Paul’s First letter to the Corinthians. In the thirteenth verse of chapter ten he says this:
“No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”
It is easy for us to see the looming doom of things such as the sequester. Unfortunately, we often allow such things to obscure the power and glory of God. Today, I don’t offer a prescription for overcoming these fears and obstacles. Instead I offer this prayer:
Holy God, often you are like the playground hidden in the woods. Close enough to hear the shouts of joy as the children play, yet we can’t see it through the weeds and trees. Today we ask that you help us to work our way through the fear and stumbling blocks so that we might see you and your glory in our lives. AMEN