My mind has very much been on the parable for this coming Sunday, one of two brothers far from Home. One figuratively, and one literally – although perhaps we might get them the wrong way round??
In the English Church calendar it is of course Mothering Sunday, and that bit of ‘the old country’ still lives on in some Anglican circles here in New Zealand. In part it is founded on a Sunday halfway through Lent when servants, often girls (my great grandmother did a spell ‘in service’), were allowed home to enjoy its comforts.
Home and the heart are deeply interwoven – we might ponder Jesus’ words about ‘where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’, in this respect. Your true Home, where you belong is found within your deep desires . . . but our deep desires are distorted and so we are homeless . . .
The evidence of that lostness, that distortion within us, Jesus speaks of in terms of Sight – what our eye is set upon. Of course in so doing he does no more nor less than refer us to our shared story in The Garden, where amidst all the Goodness of God, our eye is drawn, directed even to the one thing that will bring death . . .
We might understand that as being our ability to see the speck in our brother’s eye, not something any of us is a stranger to, or at least not yet. We are surrounded by a myriad ways in which we might set our eyes on the speck . . . that is to see with the evil eye, the eye attuned to death.
But, Jesus warns us about where we set our eye. ‘The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is Good, then your whole body will be full of light, but if the ‘light’ within you is darkness, then how great is that darkness’
Like the brother who has the log in his eye, so cannot see to take out the speck of his brother’s eye, we believe we can see, but if our eye is set on that which is ‘wrong!’, ‘bad!’ ‘Wicked!’ – then our body has no light within it. We are full of darkness for we look at the darkness . . . which is of course Death itself manifested amongst us. We see the Sin . . . this in part is where ‘loving the sinner and hating the sin’ collapses. If we truly see the Sin, we are presuming that our own hearts are full of light . . . but if our focus is on ‘what is wrong with the world’ then we are full of great darkness. Our Eye is evil
This is why the heart of the Christian Life is the transformation of the heart – that we might see aright. For to See aright is to See how God Sees – to look out on a fallen world as God does, full of Love and Compassion and Mercy.
Certainly this is hard. If we consider what is ‘in the papers’ and evidenced in our FB feeds etc. then we do not look on the world in this way. ‘Those people!’ ‘Those Conservatives!’ ‘Those Progressives!’ ‘That type of church!’ ‘That president!’ ‘That President’s supporters’ ‘The Brexiters!’ ‘The Remainers!’ – our eye’s seem fixed on what is hateful to us . . . and so the weary story goes on, and all we seem capable of doing is adding to the darkness, as the hate and the bile that fills our own hearts pours out, upon these ‘worthy targets of our scorn’, our eyes full of death. Lord have mercy.
The first Commandment is this – You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind and all your strength. Set your Eye on That which is Good, Pure, Beautiful and True! Let your Eye become Good – that is the journey of Christian Transformation, through which with Jesus we pray for those who persecute us, ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do . . .’ (Of course few if any of us are being persecuted, but we seem incapable of looking with mercy even though this be the case)
Seek God! Seek to know His Love, His Mercy, be transformed by the renewal of your inner eye. Look not upon darkness for it will only fill your soul, ‘and you will surely die’
Look to Jesus. Allow His light to flood your soul – and you will become that which you were created to be, the bearer of the Light of God, Having the Heart of the Father. This is where our true Home is – within us and around us.
That way not only will you be saved, but perhaps also a few around you