Summary: In all seasons of the year, we need vision correction. We are too often farsighted, or shortsighted, or just plain blind to the reality of God’s kingdom.
The Eyes of Christ
Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7
April 2, 2006
There were two Marines who boarded a train together, one a young man not too long out of recruit training and the other, his commanding officer. They sat across the aisle from a pretty young woman and her grandmother. It was evident that the young Marine and the girl were smitten with each other.
Shortly after the train left the station, they entered the mountains and shortly after that, passed through a long, dark tunnel. It was pitch black. No one could see anything. There in the darkness, came the sound of the smack of a kiss followed by a slap across a face. When the train emerged from the tunnel, the four people sat there without looking at each other and without saying a word.
The grandmother was thinking to herself, “It was very rude for that young man to kiss my granddaughter, but I’m glad she slapped him.”
The commanding officer was thinking, “I didn’t think the young Marine was brave enough to kiss that girl, but I sure wish she hadn’t missed him and slapped me instead.”
The young woman was thinking, “I’m glad he kissed me, but I wish my grandmother had not slapped him.”
The young Marine was sitting there with a smile on his face, thinking, “Life is good. It isn’t often that a Marine gets to kiss a pretty woman and slap his commanding officer all at the same time!”
All sorts of strange things happen when we can’t see. Back in the early 90’s, I was for several years, the Director for our Elementary Ranch Camp down at our Pine Creek Camp west of Lafayette. If you’ve not been there, Pine Creek is a great camp, even if it is a little rustic. It is over three hundred acres of woodland with a couple of large building for group meetings and smaller cabins in the woods for sleeping. As Director for the week, I got to stay in my own room in the main lodge.
We would ride horses all day, learning how to control these animals, how to care for them, and how to clean up after them. Each camper had his or her own horse for the week. Every morning, after breakfast and devotions, we would shovel out their stalls, groom them, pick their hooves, saddle them, and head for the riding arena or the horse trails. By the end of the week, I would always have blisters in places I didn’t think you could get blisters. On the final day, we would always put on a riding exhibition for parents to show them what the campers had learned that week.
The campers and their counselors stayed in the cabins in the woods. After dinner, evening activities, and showers, I would always have a Bible study lesson around a campfire before bedtime.
I remember the first time I did this. The cabins were a quarter of a mile or so from the main lodge where I was staying. When I had finished the Bible study and the campers were off to bed, it was pitch dark. The trees were in full leaf and you couldn’t see the moon or the stars. I had a flashlight, but it didn’t do much good as I tried to navigate that narrow path through the woods back to my room.
The very first time I walked back in the dark, I got hopelessly lost. I wasn’t really panicked. I knew if I didn’t make it back, someone would come along the next morning before breakfast and find me, but it was a little disconcerting. I literally couldn’t see more than two steps ahead of me. Wandering off the trail into poison ivy was the least of my worries. I wondered if I was going to fall off the footbridge that was ahead and end up in the creek.
I received a new appreciation that night, for people who are blind or who don’t have full use of their eyesight. For people who actually are blind, researchers at the University of Southern California may have an answer. They have developed a system known as “Argus” named after the mythological Greek god who had 100 eyes.
Developed for people who suffer from retinitis pigmentosa, or degenerated retinas, the Argus system consists of artificial retinas, tiny electronic eye implants, and a video camera mounted on a pair of sunglasses. So far, the results are promising that this technology might enable some formerly blind people to see.
Blindness is a physical malady. It can also be a spiritual condition. The prophet Isaiah was talking about this blindness when he had a vision of a future when those spiritual eyes would be opened. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light and those who dwell in a land of deep darkness – on them has light shined” (Isaiah 9:2). The sort of darkness that is sometimes found in the lives of human beings needs more than a mechanical or electronic correction. It requires more than artificial eyes. It requires the eyes of Jesus.