Do you wear contacts or glasses? I remember when I was twenty-six years old flunking my driver’s test because they said I couldn’t see. Couldn’t see? That was ridiculous! But I needed my license so off to the optometrist I went. He gave me a few tests and then went back and prepared glasses for me (they could do it on-site back then). I came two hours later and sat down thinking this was a waste of time and money. He asked me, “Can you see the tree outside?” “Sure I can see the tree. I’m not blind!” Then he handed me the pair of glasses and I put them on. Whoa! I could see the leaves and the branches! There were so many details that had been lost on me. I had gotten so used to not being able to see that I didn’t think I needed anything, and yet I did.
John Calvin called the Bible “the spectacles through which we see the world.” If true, it seems that many have gotten so used to not really seeing the world that they have gotten used to it and don’t think they need it. Offer a Bible study in church today and it surely will not fill up with 20-40 year olds. And, unlike the Department of Transportation, we can’t require it of them. So where do we go?
The only way I see is to show people the difference by intentionally reflecting on what is going on with what the Bible tells us in our day to day lives. I don’t mean by this that we try to highlight our knowledge like we are privileged. But share it as an observation that could be of use. If people see that it is helpful, perhaps it will pique their interests for more.
But it is important to remember that the Bible is not God (just as glasses aren’t what we see through them). There are a few too many places that treat the Bible as a rule book versus a library of books written by different authors at different times. Glasses worn incorrectly, not polished, or bent don’t provide much help to us. We need to remember what the Bible is (our charter document as God’s people) and what it is for (to bring us into right relationship with God).
On a day when we remember those who lost their lives for our nation, let us also remember that religious freedom (not freedom from religion) is one of the things for which they died. And many used those spectacles to see what their calling was in this life and we have been blessed by it.
All the best and until next time,