A Radical New Perspective – Reflection for 12 August 2018
Have you ever looked through the big lenses rather than the small lenses of a set of binoculars? The view is very different. Someone may have even told you that you were looking through “the wrong end” of the glasses.
As Israel stands on the banks of the Jordan after forty years of wandering through the wilderness, Moses offers them a different view of their journey. He reminded them of the blessing of manna and the miraculous preservation of their clothes and health. He turns his gaze across the river and envisions for them the blessings that await. Instead of their own narrow perspective, he invites them to see the experience of the wilderness through God’s eternal perspective.
Over thirty generations later, Jesus stands on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and asks Israel to take a different view of Him. Even after witnessing the signs and wonders, the teaching and the power, the crowd still grumbled because they saw Him still in terms of the son of Joseph and Mary, the child they watched grow up. They refute His rightful claim because He does not fit their notion of what the Messiah should be like. Like Moses, Jesus offers them a different perspective on the present. Jesus invites them to see blessing and promise from God’s point of view.
In the early days of the church, Paul invites not only Israel, but the Gentiles as well to share in God’s perspective. Paul has described to the church at Ephesus the Gospel imperative to put away the old self and put on the new self. He goes on to describe the consequences of this new perspective. Paul asks them to put away lies and speak in truth, to put aside anger and put on love, to forgive rather than repay wrongs, to share rather than hoard, to build up rather than tear down with words. Paul invites the church to a new perspective as well. He invites us to look at the world from the perspective of the Cross.
As I look at the culture we find ourselves in today, both within the church and outside the church, I think we might benefit from a new perspective. We seem to spend much time grumbling, complaining, doubting, spinning the truth, speaking rather than listening, separating rather than welcoming, fearing rather than loving, gathering rather than giving, putting down rather than building up with our words. I wonder if we as a church are looking through the wrong end of the binoculars and viewing the Cross through the world rather than viewing the world through the Cross.
We stand today not on the banks of a river or the shore of the sea, but in front of the Table. I invite you to seek a radical new perspective of the week past and the week ahead. What does the world look like from God’s perspective as you look from the Table through the Cross?