Thursday, June 8, 2017

Eye to Eye

A couple of nights ago we watched The Resurrection of Gavin Stone. Through what can only be described as divine intervention, an actor ends up serving community service hours in a church and winds up cast as Jesus in their play. He has some pretty significant ideas about how to make Jesus bigger, but the director disregards his ideas, reminding him that Jesus was a humble servant, not an attention seeking narcissist.

As he eventually begins to understand who Jesus is, during the perfomance, he ad libs things that Jesus didn't do, but might have.

First, in Matthew 19 when a young man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life and begins to walk away sad after hearing Jesus' response, Gavin touches his arm, whispers something to him, and then lets the man go.

Second, in John 8 when the Pharisees bring the woman caught in adultry and her accusers leave, he bends down, places his hand under her chin, and speaks to her while looking her in the eyes.

The Biblical accounts of these events doesn't say Jesus did either of these things, but I don't believe they would be out of character to think that he would do these things.

See, when Gavin Stone looked at the people before him, he looked at them as Jesus would have seen them, with compassionate eyes that desperately want more for them than they want for themselves. And in both of these portrayls, I saw how he likely approaches me, either when I am faced with a choice, or when I am too ashamed to believe that I'm being given grace that I don't feel I deserve.

The second depiction hit a bit harder than the first. Why? Because the woman in the play looked at Gavin in the eyes, and I don't know that if Jesus were to approach me in such a pitiful state that I would make eye contact with him.

It's so easy to heap condemnation and shame on ourselves for things we wish we could change. And to be looked at with such unconditional love and acceptance, I would think that the full weight of his mercy and grace in that situation cause us to crumble.

Slowly, but surely, I am starting to see Jesus in a new way. Not just the one who died to save me from myself, but the one who died to save me for himself. Because whether I feel like I deserve it or not, he really does love me. And not the me I think I should be, but the me that was created through him, for him, and in him. And as this transformation is happening, my eyes are beginning to open to see the one who's been lifting my head heavenward all along. And those glimpses of glory are truly quite astonishing.

Jesus, you came to lift our heads. You want to look us in your eyes because you know that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and in your eyes there is no darkness, only light. Remove from us any shame we have that would keep our eyes cast down. Remind us that your perfect love covers us and our sins. Build our confidence in who you are and who you made us to be. We praise you and thank you for loving us so well. Amen.

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