The eyes really do have it. As if lawn signs for the face, eyes send unmistakable messages; I lost. I won! I forgot. You ate the last cookie, didn't you? Eye billboards announce long before the lips have a chance to join in.
I write with concern over a couple of generations who were groomed in the church, killed in the church, and have walked away from us. They aren't evil people. They are good...really good men and women...who missed the message that Jesus lives to give abundant life.
Yesterday I sat (once again) with a good man who was raised in the church and then bolted as soon as he left home. His God-senses are dead. He didn't hear of mercy and grace and life. He was unintentionally killed in the line of friendly fire by those in the church who themselves were not equipped with the good news of Jesus.
I ache for his mother and father for they only passed along what had been handed down; that three-times-a-week scenario coupled with rigidity and unintended arrogance. It is interesting how Catholics were criticized years ago for the Pope keeping the Bible from the people. Yet, we have exited an age where Bibles brought were counted as we raised them in the air for all to see; but for a few the pages were no more read than if Catholic.
Those sad eyes---I recognize them immediately---haunt my heart. You see I am one who killed some good people off with my rapid-fire sermons which, arrogantly delivered, put people in their places. Such messages rarely pleased God; but did tickle the ears of a few who liked others to be told off while it gave me a false sense of power. Guys like me have caused hope and life to collapse inside the shells of men and women who may not have realized it as they assumed they were journeying toward the Light and Life of the Christ.
As I spoke with this friend yesterday, his eyes had a similar look to those we see being reported from Haiti; lonely and hopeless. There is no light coming from the billboard. Friendliness is present as well as courtesy. Yet, there is a sense of complete vacancy in his spirit totally unnoticed by himself.
This explains why the theme 25 years ago of Memorial being A Place to Start Life Over. It is this kind of person I so want to reach. I want them to learn what I finally got to learn; there is reason to hope and reason to believe we really are abundantly saved. Everyone deserves to hear the gospel. I see a couple of generations who were among us who didn't get to hear it. Jesus offers the outrageously impossible....a second chance times 70.
May we see possibility in those sad eyes for they, themselves, have not the ability to see anything. There really is a life in the church they have yet to experience. They never knew it was possible to find the church magnetic, electric, and full of celebration.
We have ample opportunity to heal the blind. May our eyes have the light in them to help those stuck in an awful darkness.