Things collide in church, sometimes. And explode. Mentally.
Here’s what I mean:
Our pastor is walking us through a series of meditations on the senses during Lent, based on the book Awaken Your Senses by J. Brent Bill and Beth A. Boorum. She is inviting us to pay conscious attention to the presence of God this Lent, by focusing some conscious attention on one of our senses each week.
I live in my head most of the time. I think that’s why this approach has already shaken things up for me a lot.
Sunday’s focus was on “sight.”
One of the songs in the worship service was “Open the Eyes of My Heart.”
[A lot of people will know that song. It’s a popular and pretty instance of “contemporary Christian” music. It’s also a great example of what I think the hymnodist Brian Wren meant when he said that at one of the first churches he served he found the hymnal’s theology consisted of “Me and Jesus and possibly the church.” Being Presbyterian and mostly all about the church, the cantor sang “open the eyes of our hearts.”]
We had just wound up a discussion of the Uniform Series Texts for the day: Acts 16:11-15, in which
A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.
So – cool!
and also 1 Corinthians 1:26-30, which in context [I will continue to insist] really begins at 1 Corinthians 1:18
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
So that when the line in that song comes around “we want to see you – to see you high and lifted up – shining with the light of your glory – ”
the “first thing that comes to mind” of that song – some heavenly throne room, maybe, all light and angels – explodes into something a lot more naturalistic, on the ground, on the street, engaged:
… we proclaim Christ crucified …
A whole different way to think of glory.
For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. … God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.
Let’s ask God to open the eyes of our hearts to that.
Image: “The Good Samaritan,” Tadeusz Makowski, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons