I admit it, my glasses were uncomfortable today at church, so I took them off and stuck them in my pocket. My husband has been on my case for over a year (since I first got these glasses) that I should go complain to the eye doctor that these glasses are the most uncomfortable pair I've ever owned. Right or not, I haven't gotten around to it, so more often than not, I wear these perched on the top of my head or keep them crammed in a pocket or abandoned entirely on my desk.
And so when those wonderful words came around today, words that no matter where else my thoughts are never fail to draw my eyes to the altar, my glasses were not at their duty station. My distance vision being what it is, I could see the outlines of the altar, priest, chalice, but in the words of St. Paul, it was all as if seeing through a dim glass. I knew what I was supposed to be seeing, but there was no way I could actually see what I was told to behold.
This made me realize, the words themselves are "behold" or "look!" but not "see." I was not being called to do what my human frailty could not do, to see. I was simply called to look up, and recognize the patterns that my adult life in the faith has taught me since I first became an Anglican and learned those words and patterns. Look! Leave the seeing for another time, but obey and look now.
So many people in my life are not able to see, no matter how they may be looking. This past year has been marked with human suffering, friends with cancer, chronic pain, and other physical frustrations that keep them from doing the things they are sure they are supposed to be doing. It makes me wonder, how many of us are trying to see when we're actually called to behold? How many of us are trying to earn our way rather than receiving it? Straining rather than accepting the patterns, lines, and colors we've been trained on all our lives?
Later, again like St. Paul, we will see him face to face. For now, I think Lent is a time when we do strain forward to see and we are frustrated with the dim nature of our Easter vision. But maybe, at least some years, Lent is a time to remember that we are commanded to behold, even when the sight will not come until later.
Blessed Lent, dear ones. Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world....