To see or not to see. Perhaps that is the question on this side of Easter.
When the women came to the empty tomb in the garden, they saw a missing body, not resurrection — until two men in dazzling white appeared before them; they brought light into their darkness and helped the women to see the world differently. “He is not here. He is risen.”
That same day two followers of Jesus were on the road to Emmaus. The resurrected Jesus came up and walked alongside of them, but, in their grief, they did not recognize him. Jesus was right there with them, the one whose presence they wanted more than anything, but they didn’t see him. Until Jesus opened up the Scripture for them, until Jesus broke bread with them, and helped them to see their world differently.
Resurrection gives us eyes to see the world differently. To see life where others see death. To recognize the face of Jesus in a stranger. To notice kingdom light shining through cracks in the darkness, in the broken places of life. At least it can, anyway.
To see or not to see. Author Jo Coudert says that, in life, “We find what we expect to find. We do not see the world as it is but as we are.” So, how are we? Do you see any differently because of Resurrection?
My friend, Jeremy, is a runner. Two weeks before last month’s Quintiles marathon that takes place each spring in Wilmington, he got a call asking him to be a guide in the half marathon, helping a visually impaired runner to navigate the course, and he jumped at the chance.
For 13.1 miles, Jeremy and Abigail ran hand in hand. A cancer survivor living in Brooklyn, N.Y., Abigail began training for her first half marathon with several chemo treatments still to go. Since then she has run in several half marathons and triathlons and this past November ran in the New York City Marathon. She is a young woman of deep faith with a beautiful spirit and an astounding determination to do the most with what God has provided for her.
“When we started the race,” Jeremy said, “I asked Abigail if she wanted me to tell her what I saw along the way — funny signs, costumes, sights. When we crossed the first bridge, I told her. She said she already knew because the wind had changed and the sounds of feet on concrete were different than they were on asphalt.
“As we were coming back around the loop, I let her know it was cloudy but I thought the sun was just coming up. She said she knew that, too. I thought about that for a minute and asked her how she knew. Was the sun beginning to warm her? ‘No. Not yet,’ she said. It was the birds. The birds always wake up at the first peek of light and flap their wings to warm up. Soon they will start chirping. As if on cue, the chirping began.
“It probably wasn’t a good Idea,” Jeremy said, “but we were clear of obstacles, and so, for a few strides, I ran with my eyes closed listening to some remaining birds flapping their wings before chirping. That is when I realized I was her sight to keep us from obstacles, but for the next two hours she was going to be my sight to see things I had not seen before.”
To see or not to see. That is the question.
The blind beggar, Bartimeus, saw Jesus for who he was better than many of the disciples who spent every day with him. Still, when asked by Jesus, “What do you want me to do for you?”, the prayer of his heart was, “Lord, I want to see.”
How would the world look different if that was the prayer of our heart as well?