Summary: ASCENSION, YEAR A - Let us look with eyes of faith not eyes of flesh.
Do any of you remember the movie called “The Karate Kid”? It was a story about a teenage boy who must learn to defend himself against a gang of bullies in his new school.
So he turns to his Asian landlord to train him in the art of Karate, which means “open hand”. His landlord agrees and tells him to return the next morning for his first lesson. He shows up early the next day anticipating learning how to punch and to kick, but instead is assigned the job of painting his landlord’s fence. Up and Down, Up and Down, he is told he must paint. Frustrated he tells himself perhaps tomorrow I will learn how to fight. But the next day he is given the task of waxing and polishing his landlord’s cars. Circle clockwise with the right Circle counter-clockwise with the left, he is told he must wax. What does any of this have to do with learning how to fight, he wonders? He just doesn’t see the point of paint and waxing. So in frustration he gets angry with his teacher and tells him he must be crazy! In reply he is told to to move his hands as if he is waxing the car and when he does his teacher throws a punch and the young man blocks it. In that moment the young man perceives what he could not see before. He understands what he could not fathom previously. His teacher is not crazy, he is simply teaching the young man the basics to the martial arts. Before he can go on to greater things he must first learn the basics. In Luke chapter six Jesus gives us the basics to Kingdom living in a speech that has been called the sermon on the mount. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said,
“Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.”
In light of what happened on 9/11, and all that has taken place since then, could you make such a public claim? So what is happening here? Is Jesus crazy? If it weren’t for his Resurrection, we might be prone to say, "yes." But God did raise Jesus from the dead; and so as a result, these sayings have a special power to reveal a divine reality that is all around us, but that we can not yet clearly see. These sayings describe and point to the Kingdom of Heaven, the realm where God rules and God’s saints live forever. This realm is not just an improvement on this world. It is a realm that is radically different. A realm that is rooted, grounded in the sovereign love of God. When we are rooted, grounded in the sovereign love of God, we are able to glimpse this new reality, a place where Jesus’ sayings are not crazy ramblings, but wonderfully good news. The writer of Ephesians encouraged this new reality with the prayer that, "You may see this inheritance with the eyes of your heart." It is the inheritance of the grace of God, where Christ reigns supreme, and where God’s people are filled with every blessing. With all the riches of God’s kingdom, here and in the here-after. And such enlightenment of our hearts is meant to transform us to see and live the kingdom of God in the here and now. As Pascal so beautifully expressed it, "The heart has reasons the mind knows not of." Hearts of faith see things that can only be a mystery to the mind, and utter confusion to the world. It is the heart that is able to see into that mystery, and it is for this reason that Paul said to the Ephesians,