Thursday, February 17, 2011

Homily 23: Missing What Matters (as preached by an orthodox rebel)

"You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times." Matt.16:3b

A necessary consequence of Pharisaical idolatry is spiritual blindness. Look at this incident between the Pharisees and Jesus. Their conception of God (formed by their own traditions and considerations) had so blurred their spiritual vision that when God Himself came walking amongst them in the flesh they could see neither him nor the things that He had done. Jesus had performed many signs already; some individually (e.g., Matt. 8:1-17), some before thousands (e.g., Matt. 14:13-21), and none in secret. There was nothing hidden, and yet the Pharisee could not see. Their natural vision was fine, but their spiritual sight was blocked, perhaps even seared shut by their concept of what God ought to be. Likewise, our self-constructed conceptions of God are always blinders to our souls, and the only hope of knocking them off is by a visitation from the God who is.

"How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread?" (Matt. 16:11a). It is not necessarily the Pharisee that lets their self-made opinion of God blind them. Even the disciples did not understand what Jesus was after or about. The difference, however, is that when the God who is confronted the God of their own minds, they chose to follow the God who is despite the confusion of their minds. They did not understand Him just yet, but they did believe in Him (Matt. 16:16), and eventually they came to understand Him (Luke 24:45). That is always the way it is: we must go through the confusion and fog of our misconceptions, clinging for dear life to the God revealed in scripture and in Christ, even if there are whole areas that we do not understand yet. Our blinders are being taken off. It may take time (depending on our obstinacy), but if we stick to it and go through the dark with the God who is, we shall emerge closer to Him than we were before. For those lost in illusion, reality is always a confusion. Once we are brought through it all to the other side, however, then the illusion drops from our eyes like scales; and where once we were blind, now our eyes see Him.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2011

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