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20/20 in 2020

The percentage of Americans who wear corrective lenses to improve their eye sight runs high. If you don’t wear glasses to facilitate your eye sight, it is a safe bet that you surely know someone who does. To wear glasses is the desire to see more clearly. What does it matter if someone calls you “four eyes” or “specs?” Far more important to attain 20/20 vision with visual aid. Sight, clear sight, is a powerful gift.

We are about half way through 2020. What a year! Do you remember when the announcement was made at your 2019 Christmas Eve worship service? It went something like: You all get ready for the pandemic this spring. Pan what? Who would have imagined then that in a few short months religious people would be scrambling to find alternative forms of public worship? Who would have thought we would be having this discussion about health and well being and mask or no mask? And, who would have predicted that racism would be flaunting its nasty self again. Well, that one could have been predicted, even expected. We have had 20/20 vision on that matter for a long time, and we don’t like what we see, yet we prefer our advantages so much that we resort to being visually impaired when it comes to color of skin. Somehow content of character gets lost by a brain falsely misdirected. Racism is difficult to watch, even more so, it is difficult to admit within ourselves how its pesky persistence haunts our wished for righteous selves.

Fortunately, Christian tradition has passed down some helpful wisdom to return our sight to 20/20 vision. Read Holy Scripture. The stories. The prayers. The hymns. They all tell about how our grandparents of the faith sought after a wisdom beyond themselves. Sometimes, most times, it wasn’t pretty; nevertheless, God’s mercy carried them forward.

Spend time with thoughtful people. The church – and other religious traditions – participate in a spiritual community dedicated to seeking and listening to what is good and right and just. You do not come to wisdom on your own. You come to clear sighted wisdom through thoughtful debate and discernment and new resolve to serve a purpose beyond yourself. Good people nurture good people. Goodness becomes a community effort.

Trust the Holy Spirit to work within and around you. In Christian tradition, the Spirit and the risen Christ are the manifestation of the revelation of God who serves as a guide for the human journey. The Holy Trinity – God, Christ, Spirit – work as a team to challenge you to love others as yourself. Would you want to be treated that way? No? Well then pay attention to the counsel from above, the counsel that reminds you how much you enjoy color, the counsel that pleads with you to do no harm. Let the scales fall from your eyes. Put on the visual aids that help you see 20/20. See more clearly the other as an honored fellow human being, one of God’s many beloved children.

Doug Goodwin serves as pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in downtown Sheridan

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