“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.” - Matthew 6:22-23a (NRSV)
On a small boat in the north Atlantic, I am waiting to find my first puffin. The day is cold and rainy and the seas choppy. But as we motor closer to the Treshnish Isles, I spot a black dot out on the water.
I grab my binoculars to get a better look. Complete black. I take the caps off and try again.
That’s when I notice how foggy the windows are. I wipe a spot clear and raise my binoculars again to find…they are totally out of focus.
I dial them in, and finally, there it is. Partially obscured by the rocking boat and driving rain, but unmistakable. My first puffin.
I’m going to dispense with Jesus’ ableist eye metaphor and say this teaching is not about view, but worldview. It’s about the story we tell, the narrative we place between us and the world.
Does it cloud our understanding? Block out information? Focus us on the wrong things?
When I tell a story of fear, I find plenty to be afraid of. When I focus on scarcity, there is solid evidence there is not enough. When my narrative is one of self-interest, it’s as if nothing exists beyond the end of my nose.
And when I am reminded that the story I believe is one in which the God of love has created us in their image and called us good, then wherever I go, I find it’s unmistakably true.
Unmistakable Love, clear every obstacle from my understanding.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.