3 Advent Year A

Isaiah 35:1-10; Psalm 146:4-9 (or Canticle 3 or 15); James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11

“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what kind of a person you are.” – C.S. Lewis

                Jesus tells the disciples of John the Baptist to go and relate to John what they “hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.” (Mt. 11:4-5 NRSV)  Wow! Looks like the kingdom of God has come near just as Jesus proclaimed.  However, how about now days?  If a stranger off the streets were to come into our churches today what would they hear and see, and experience?  Would those who are blind because they can’t see where next to go in their lives, or those who feel lame, incapacitated by fear, receive their sight and walk with confidence after being with us?  Would those who believe themselves unworthy because of decisions turned sour, and feel their lives are dead ends, be raised up or be cleansed like the lepers?  Do people who come into our churches hear good news for their daily lives?  Now, before we start dumping on the churches, let us remember that things of the Spirit that go on in the hearts of people are not always perceived immediately, especially not perceived well by the less insightful of us who measure success quantitatively by numbers or money.  Let us not be so dualistically black or white.  There may be much good going on that some people may not want to share.  But perhaps eventually it all can be seen or heard of.  C.S. Lewis says it depends where we stand.  Let us take higher ground and look around again.  After all, what kind of people are we?

 

Greek

                In Matthew 11:4 Jesus tells John’s disciples to tell him what they “see.”  The Greek word used here is the ordinary word used for simple visual perception (blepo), rather than other words that could mean see in a more metaphoric sense of understand (such as we find in Matthew 11:7, 8, and 9).  Jesus is speaking of the blind recovering sight, and the lame walking, etc., in a literal sense.  You can “see” it happening.  In Matthew 11:5 Jesus says the blind recover their sight.  This is the same word (blepo) combined with the word for “up.”  It literally means to ‘look up.”

 

Haiku

What do we hear, see?

Stand taller, look up beyond,

beyond evident.