This morning I read a letter from a college professor directed to the President, a letter insisting that “women and people of faith” will fight for the rights of those suffering discrimination.
Preventing discrimination based on sex, race, disability, and other protected classes is a moral issue. You can expect religious and non-religious women and allies to resist any federal actions that would reverse the recent modest progress to address discriminatory violence.
I note she does not mention discrimination directed at people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
I’m sitting right in her blind spot.
Blindness is a common metaphor in the gospels. Jesus heals actual blind people, allowing them to see in the physical sense, but there is always an underlying message: there are people capable of sight who will not see. They overlook the poor, neglect to view their privilege, seem immune to insights that could make the world a better place for everyone – especially those they refused to see in the first phrase of this sentence.
This is not a problem Jesus solved once and for all in the first century of the Common Era.
As Jesus came to Jericho, a certain blind man was sitting beside the road begging. When the man heard the crowd passing by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus the Nazarene is passing by.”
The blind man shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy.” Those leading the procession scolded him, telling him to be quiet, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, show me mercy.”
Jesus stopped and called for the man to be brought to him. When he was present Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”
He said, “Lord, I want to see.”
Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” At once he was able to see, and he began to follow Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they praised God too. (Luke 18:35-43, CEB)
Oh! That’s it. We have to *want* to see.
And we tend not to want to see if it’s going to upset our agenda, disrupt our itinerary, derail our route. Seeing the suffering of poor people gets in the way of our unconscious enjoyment of life. Seeing racial or religious discrimination challenges our self-satisfied security. Seeing sexism presses us to the need for reimagining how people live and work together. Seeing homophobia calls into question our understanding of the way God works in creation.
Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”
If we ask to see, we’re going to be changed, by what we see in the world and by the inner sight that leads to wisdom.
Dear Jesus, I want to see. I want the world to see. Give us inner sight. Then show us mercy in the midst, because we are going to need it, from You and for each other. Amen.
I’m reading and blogging about Luke for Lent. Want to read along? The full schedule can be found here.