As I was growing up, I was proud of my strong eyesight. Many of my friends and some of my family members had glasses, so I delighted in being one of the ‘few’ with clear vision. Well, you can imagine my disappointment when headaches and eye strain in college brought me into the office of an ophthalmologist. Glasses became a necessary solution to balance my vision as one eye had grown weaker. I’m still a little disheartened by this reality.
This moment flooded back to me this week as I was once again experiencing disproportion vision – just before being diagnosed with ‘pink eye.’ Unbalanced eyesight causes such a problem! This is true physically, but it’s also true spiritually. Let me explain further.
We come from a tradition that takes Jesus words on the Sermon on the Mount very seriously. We also emphasize the need to interpret all of Scripture with Jesus as our primary lens (aka. Christocentric theology). In my perspective, this approach brings us into a very strong theological vantage point for consistent Christian living.
However, there is one weakness which can develop from this perspective - we can begin to develop a weaker view on the authority and application of the Old Testament Scriptures. I have observed some Anabaptists who even go so far as to dismiss them altogether! The truth is that we need the authority of both the Old and New Testaments in order to see Jesus clearly and have good theological ‘eyesight.’ This is why, when you follow our FMC daily Scripture readings, you’ll encounter a healthy dose of both.
Another example of unbalanced spiritual eyesight is one that happens among the ‘communion of saints’. Occasionally, we become tempted to forget that church life is about deeper, interconnected, mutual community and start to focus on our individualism. Now individualism is certainly necessary among the saints! Paul emphasized the church’s need for individual gifts by using this analogy, “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing?”
(1 Cor. 12:17a
). However, strong unity among the believers requires a balanced vision between independent individuals and interdependent members.
It is for this reason that I encourage our First Mennonite family to engage in our six-week study which begins next week, April 3rd. Details and materials can be found at firstmennonitemorton.org/saints-study/
. This is one way to strengthen your spiritual eyesight.
As you consider your perspective on Scripture or community, know that it is the Lord who desires to strengthen the eyes of your heart and lead you to places of clear vision - for His glory. “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”