When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24: 30-32, NRSV)
Early in the pandemic, my husband and I stopped going to the gym and moved our exercise outdoors. We walk and bike the same path through the neighborhood. It could become very boring to go down the same streets, past the same houses, around the same lakes, etc. But it did not take long for me to decide that I had to keep it interesting by looking closely and paying attention to what was around me. It’s amazing what has happened as a result. I’m noticing so much more, for example, how many different kinds of palm trees there are, when particular flowers and trees blossom, how the lake levels rise after a storm, and where the birds are most likely to congregate.
It’s not a new lesson, but it is a valuable reminder that I see more when I open my eyes and look carefully. The same is true for faith. As we struggle with the challenge of living through this pandemic, our faith tells us that God is present. But we will not be able to see when and where and how God is present unless we open and look with the eyes of faith.
When I open my eyes… I see God working through church staff who are finding creative ways to keep NUCC members and friends connected even while physically apart. I see God touching hearts near and far through the Ministry of Music in worship, hymn-sings, and virtual choir performances. I see God’s love embodied in Stephen Ministers and others who are calling to check on church members. I see God’s healing power everywhere that doctors, nurses, therapists, aides, and others are caring for sick people, sometimes at the risk of their own lives. I see God calling us to do justice not only through the Sacred Conversations about Race and Privilege at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, but also through all the other conversations happening in the church and community. People are sharing, listening, and learning. I see God in the life and legacy of civil rights leader John Lewis, and in the challenge that his example presents to all of us to go and do likewise. I see God at work in offices and laboratories where scientists are striving to understand COVID-19 and develop a vaccine to prevent its spread. I see God in the smiles and blown kisses of my granddaughters whenever we use FaceTime or Zoom to visit.
The risen Christ was at the table eating with his disciples when their eyes were opened and they recognized him. If you open your eyes, where might you recognize Christ’s presence? See God at work in your life? In our community? In the world?
Rev. Dr. Sharon Harris-Ewing
For expanded vision:
Redeemer God, Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me…Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine! Amen.