Faith and Thought

What Nourishes Me, Again

Following the theme of “What Nourishes Me,” from last month, I want to share some more this month. Its no small thing that God sees us, don’t you think? Many people remember the passage that says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Luke 12:6-7a). God sees us, not just because we are visible to him, but because God cares about you and all of creation. We aren’t just in his visual range; He looks for us and notices us. What’s nourishing me today are the times in the gospels when Jesus “saw, sees, and looks, at a person. To point to a passage, I have been moved by Jesus’ actions when he takes notice of the widow and her two coins. In Luke 21:1-4 Jesus sits teaching in the women’s court of the temple while men and women give offerings. In this passage Jesus is torn away from his teaching to notice those who are giving to the Temple. I like to imagine what Jesus could hear during the giving; people noisily clanging their coins into the receptacles. If that is what drew his attention, what he sees is a widow giving up her last two coins. From Jesus’ perspective, the widow has given more than anyone else, because she gave everything she had. The wealthy folks in comparison give out of what they have and so they never stop being rich. It’s important to notice, that Jesus sees the widow. Jesus never turns his face away from a marginalized person. It would be so easy to miss this woman’s gift. It’s doubtful anyone would hear two small copper coins plunk down into the chest; That is exactly the problem, no one else notices that the widow has given all that she had. Jesus sees a lot more in this passage besides the widow. If we read back into the last chapter, we see that Jesus condemns the scribes for quietly taking widows houses, while at the same time offering loud prayers. The rich likewise pass by without a notice or care, and the Temple, the resting place of God’s presence, takes everything the widow has. Jesus sees it all so it’s no wonder that, in the very next passage, Jesus talks about the destruction of the temple.

I read a passage like this one and it reminds me that God sees everything, that he notices when we are selfless and when we are selfish. If I am going to have the eyes of Christ, I need to have the mind of Christ. That is, I need to recognize the value of every human being, to honor the sacredness of every person, and acknowledge that we all stand in God’s presence. We don’t have to go up the mountain to be in his presence, he is there standing in our midst, noticing us. In v.5 the disciples are distracted by the beauty of the Temple. They miss the widow and the point of Jesus’ teaching. We don’t have to miss it. We can see just how valuable this woman is to Jesus and allow our gaze to fall upon our own neighbor with the same thoughtfulness and notice.  It might be that we can’t fix all the problems in the world and give a marginalized person everything they need, but perhaps what they need from you begins with noticing and works from there. So, I am going to start looking up more often as Jesus does, because what Jesus does is a sacred practice of noticing. 

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