WITH THE EYES OF MY HEART WIDE OPEN

I am one of those who believes St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians is not actually a letter written to Ephesus, but more likely a cover-letter addressing all of Paul’s churches and accompanied with a collection of copies which were addressed to them. Just a theory, but it’s a good one. Anyway, the point, as I see it, with this understanding is that the letter we commonly call “Ephesians” comes nearer being directly written to us personally than all the other letters.

Sure, it is a bit generic. But that was the case anyway. When I read the letter we call “Ephesians,” I don’t actually read over someone else’s shoulders and learn from the challenges some other church faces, but I sense that Paul (and the Spirit who inspires his writing) address us just as personally as anyone alive at the time it was written. It speaks right to me (to us). I am moved a bit deeply by that notion. Maybe you would be blessed to consider that too.

One of the things this letter says to me is that Paul is thankful for me (for us) and the church of today! I mean he is really, really thankful! He might have been thankful for more than even he bargained for, but not less! And when I sit with THAT, I get really jazzed about what God is doing in the BIG PICTURE. Paul isn’t just thankful for the Ephesians, though he certainly is that too, but for all the churches who his bundle of letters ever reach, and by now, with the scope of world history that I have, I see the incredible magnitude of what that might mean!

The Roman empire is long gone! But Jesus is alive and well in his church to this very day.

Could Paul have predicted that?

I don’t know, but I am sure that I would not have.

The letter we call “Ephesians” is gushing to overflow with thanxgiving. And in one of those gushes, Paul speaks about how we come to know God and how that has to do with the opening of the “eyes of our hearts.” That last phrase has always stuck out to me as odd. “Eyes of our hearts” is a very poetic phraseology. But is it true?

I have recently been reading and re-reading Joshua Jipp’s fantastic little book on biblical hospitality, and he makes a very curious and interesting observation at the opening of his chapter on John’s Gospel. Quoting James K. A. Smith, he says, “It’s not what I think that shapes my life from the bottom up; it’s what I desire, what I love, that animates my passion.” Jipp didn’t invent the idea, but he discusses how that we come to believe the things we LOVE and not so much the things we think. This seems counterintuitive in a modern, western worldview – especially after growing up watching Spock on Star Trek, but Jipp makes a curious case for it that is hard to argue against.

We are going to know God through an exchange involving the eyes of our hearts. We will see something with our hearts that the eyes of our heads do not see. You might liken it to walking by faith instead of by sight.

I saw God today.

I started to open my post with that last sentence. I want you to imagine for a moment that I invited him to sit for a cup of coffee (tea if you like (or a beer!)). Of course, that just sounds absurd, but so does resurrection from the dead so if you are reading this far, you surely are past that by now. But, of course, absurdity alone lends itself to the idea that I might be delusional with hallucinations, and that could be. I used to work at the psych unit, and I knew people who saw Jesus that way (they saw the cup of coffee with hallucination too).

Who’s to say that wasn’t Jesus?

If I am a psychotic, schizophrenic, deluded, mental patient seeing Jesus, who’s to say I didn’t really see Jesus?

A doctor??? How does she know???

If I imagine sitting for coffee with Jesus, who’s to say he doesn’t show up for that?

You???

Maybe I only see what I want to see.

“Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, I want to see you.”

Did you ever sing those words? Did you mean it when you sang them?

I was bottle-feeding an infant with a deformity of the face. A helpless infant. Deformed. Yet the image of God.

Maybe especially the image of God.

I looked down on the suckling, helpless and vulnerable and deformed.

The infant looked at me, right in the eye.

Right in the eyes of my heart.

We connected.

The infant’s broken little face mustered a smile.

And I saw God.

One comment

  1. Harolene Leguizamon · December 17, 2020

    That preaches! So true and the way I see that precious letter to us. Thank you 🙏😇

    Liked by 1 person

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