A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Bible and Seeing the World as It Is

Luke 16:19-31: He said to him, "If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead" (19:31).

Several years ago there was an orange juice commercial that starts out in black- and-white. It is a scene at the morning breakfast table that looks like an old episode of Father Knows Best, where everyone is getting ready for the day and all is well. Everyone is eating a wonderful breakfast; mom is cooking all dressed in her finest frockery. Dad is at the breakfast table conversing with his children. Everyone is smiling in this all too perfect world.

Than all of a sudden the scene switches to color and we encounter a much more realistic picture of the modern, twenty-first century family starting the day. The mother, looking as if she has just gotten out of bed, is yelling that it’s time for breakfast. One of the kids is pouring milk in his cereal and all over the table. The other children are zipping out the door so as not to be late, while the father with his nose stuck in the morning newspaper looks up long enough to ask his wife if the kids are up yet.

The truth of the matter is that when it comes to our life and what we want out of life, and how we view our obligations toward others, we all too often construct for ourselves, the ideal, make-believe world that insulates us from the misery and pain we see around us. We walk around in life with our eyes focused on the reality we have constructed rather then the world that in actuality impinges upon us from all directions.

The Bible is the window on the real world. If we are willing to read the Bible with our eyes wide open that make-believe world gets trashed right before our eyes. The Bible does not invite us to enter a world of make-believe where all is well, where beggars can be ignored, and injustice swept to the periphery of our vision. Rather the Bible invites us into the real world where we have a responsibility to reach out to those whom Jesus sees but the rest of the world overlooks. We can indeed rest assured that one day the world will become perfect and there will be no more beggars at the gate; and there will be no more blindness. Everything that threatens God’s perfect design for his creation will pass away. But when that world comes, it will be God’s doing, and it will not be a figment of our own imaginations.

If we refuse to open our eyes to reality that Jesus says is right in front of us, there are things that we see and other things that we ignore. We see certain people and ignore others. We see certain aspects of God's work while ignoring other aspects of God's doings in this world that are less agreeable and congenial to us. But Jesus helps us to see, forcing us to look upon those things and those people whom we, in our sin, fail to see.

The rich man wanted someone to come back from the dead so his brothers might believe. His brothers were given no such opportunity. The truth of the matter is we have even less excuse than the rich man and his brothers, because Christians believe that someone has indeed come back from the dead. The risen Christ has the power, if we are willing, to open our eyes, that we might see the world and those around us with his vision, the vision of Jesus Christ.


Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, Allan. I'm intrigued with the notion of seeing with the vision of Jesus Christ. Well put. We do indeed have the mind of Christ. That surely has richness and meaning for the here and now in ways we can't imagine, as well as in ways in which we can see from scripture.

Dan Smitley said...

Just FYI - I am quoting this blog in one of my own posts in the next coming weeks. Just fair warning ;)