MAY THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH AND THE MEDITATION OF MY HEART BE ALWAYS ACCEPTABLE IN THY SIGHT OH LORD MY STRENGH AND MY REDEEMER
"Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: for I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” (St Luke x.23.)
Verses twenty three and twenty four of the tenth chapter St. Luke’s Gospel tell us that Jesus is the consummation of all that the Jews had been praying for, a messiah. Jesus is the one all the prophets and saints and kings had been praying would come and for whom they longed. HE was the peak to which history had been climbing, the goal to which it had been advancing, the dream which had always haunted men and women of God.
Verse twenty three starts with “Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see”. Many times as was the case of the prophets and kings which St Luke talks about we don’t see the blessings God bestows upon us. Perhaps because what we get is not what we were expecting or we are too busy to stop and notice or we could not recognize a blessing even if it was staring us in the face. This is what happened with the prophets and kings in the time of Jesus. The Jews had been expecting the Messiah and envisioned him to be a great warrior who would free them from Roman rule. Instead they got Jesus who preached about love, healed the sick, walked amongst sinners and confronted them in their temple. In other words he was not what they were expecting so they did not see the blessing God had given them.
How do we know when God has blessed us so we recognize a blessing when it is right in front of us? Let’s look at an incident that happened at the church property this past week. As we were working a county building inspector came by to check on the electrical service installation. When he was last there the new service panel had not been wired to the circuits in building so he needed to check them and sign off on the permit. While he was checking the outside panel he noticed a problem with the air conditioner installation and came inside the building to further check on the installation. He was not there for an inspection of the air conditioning systems; it was schedule for the next day but took it upon himself to look it over anyway. When he came inside he asked if we had a permit for the work we were doing on the rafters in the sanctuary, to which the answer was no. He felt strongly that we should have a permit and an engineered drawing approving the work being done. So he placed a call to the chief building inspector for the county who agreed to stop by the property later that day. If an engineered drawing and a permit were required a stop work order would most likely be issued, we would be faced with a delay and an unexpected cost. When the chief building inspector arrived some hours later he asked if by what we were doing we were supporting the existing fire damaged rafters to which we replied, yes. He said he was going to pay to have his engineer stop by in the next week to ten days to take a look at what we were doing but that for now we should proceed with our work. Some might say we got lucky or we dodged a bullet. We certainly were not expecting the chief building inspector to respond the way he did. If we believe God is watching over the building of his Church in Wildwood and the future of Grace Anglican Church maybe this was a blessing from God. And with his blessing in answer to our prayers the work continued for the remainder of the week.
But how do we know for sure that this was a blessing from God? Simply stated we don’t, there was no flashing neon sign that says “here’s your blessing”. A better understanding what a blessing is may help. The Oxford dictionary defines ‘blessing’ as “Gods favor and protection”. Clearly this event could have turned out much worse for us and we certainly pray that God favors what we are doing by build a place where people can worship. C.S. Lewis wrote “When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” If we look at this event we see that work was progressing in the manner in which we had been guided by the architect a few weeks earlier. The inspector’s visit resulted in what appeared to be the loss of one blessing. Then the chief building inspector comes along and another blessing is given in its place – he is going to pay for an engineer’s opinion on the structural work we have done to the roof rafters. As was the case in this situation, God’s blessings most often come as a surprise to us. Perhaps how blessed we are depends on how much faith we have that God is with us and favors what we are doing.
The Sadducees and Pharisees failed to see the blessing that was before them, the son of God; because they let their human failings guide their thoughts and actions. During the time of Christ and the New Testament era, the Sadducees were aristocrats. They tended to be wealthy and held powerful positions, including that of chief priests and high priest, and they held the majority of the 70 seats of the ruling council called the Sanhedrin. The Pharisees were mostly middle-class businessmen, and therefore were in contact with the common man. The Pharisees were held in much higher esteem by the common man than the Sadducees, though they were a minority in the Sanhedrin. These two groups were the learned leaders of the community. Their learned minds however, would not allow them to receive the simple truth that Jesus was the Messiah they had been praying for. They did not have faith that just because Jesus was not what they were expecting that God had indeed sent them their messiah.
As is often the case we can be so learned that in the end we cannot see the forest for the trees. The author Arnold Bennett once said ‘The only way to write a great book is to write it with the eyes of a child who sees things for the first time.’ Seeing an event in its simplicity like a child who sees something for the first time and having faith that God is with us and favors what we are doing are key to recognizing a blessing. We rarely understand what God has planned for us and how we react to events in our lives depends on how learned we are, how we use what we have learned and our faith that God has a plan for us. And these same factors contribute to our willingness to recognize a blessing when we see one. May God Bless You Always.
And now unto God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost be ascribed all might, majesty, power and dominion as is most justly due this day; world without end. AMEN