We know the saying, “Seeing is believing.” While there is truth to this statement, it is perhaps more accurate to say, “To see is to grow”. The man who was blind from birth in the Gospel story had never seen the visible world (John 9:1-41). He had never seen shapes and colors or the face of a human being. When he was given sight by Jesus, he grew in his knowledge of the visible world. For the first time, he saw flowers, animals and people. He also grew in his knowledge of the challenges of living with his new sight. He knew the pain of being attacked by the religious authorities who questioned if he had really been born blind. He experienced the new pain of being abandoned by his parents who were afraid the religious authorities would harm them if they stood by their son.

The man also grew in his knowledge of Jesus, little by little. When Jesus asked him if he believed in the Son of Man, he was not quite sure who Jesus was talking about. Then, when told that he was looking at him, the man said he believed. The man had been given sight to the eyes. At that moment, he was given sight to the heart. For him, to see was to grow.

Most of us have been given sight to the eyes. The challenge for people of faith is to see more so that we can grow more with God and with each other. Jesus invites us to see more of this visible world in which we live. We are beckoned to see what is really happening in our families and not close our eyes to the problems. To see what is truly happening in our world, and not shut our eyes like the little kid who thinks if he keeps his eyes closed long enough the scary thing will go away. We also need to see the invisible worlds of our emotions, attitudes and dreams. Our gaze needs to fall on the blessings, successes and gifts of our lives as well as on our suffering, pain and sin.

To see is to grow. Seeing the blessings of our lives could help us grow in our capacity to be grateful. Seeing our suffering and recognizing our sins could led to confronting our problems and stopping our destructive behaviors. Seeing the real world could lead to growth in our desire to eliminate poverty, hunger and injustice. This Lent, what might we need to see in order to grow?

Together in faith,

Very Rev. Christopher Smith