In reference to yesterday’s blog about my Ethiopian cross, John reminded me of a story I had forgotten. My oldest son was marrying a Canadian woman whose father was a Lutheran minister. He and his wife came to Boston for the wedding, and Karen and I took them out to eat. While we were waiting for our food, the Lutheran minister leaned forward and said, “I noticed you are wearing a cross. Is there a story behind it?” I could not stop myself as I replied, “I didn’t expect a Lutheran minister to know, but 2,000 years ago there was a man named Jesus who was crucified on a cross, and people have been wearing them ever since.” Happily for Karen who was livid, the man laughed and so did his wife. I still laugh when I think about it. Thanks, John, for reminding me.
Now for today’s blog. There are none so blind as those who will not see. Matthew Henry said that, and it is sadly true. It is not an accident that great writers from the Greeks to Shakespeare have put blind people in their plays and books and given them the ability to see things that those sighted people should have seen but didn't. We didn't see 9/11 coming, yet there were some who did. We didn't see the financial collapse coming, but it was there to see. It is all too easy to look the other way, to ignore things that would require us to act. Jesus knew this. In the Gospel of Mark, it is the blind beggar that recognizes Jesus while the rich young ruler could not see His glory because the rich man was blinded by his own possessions. Look at any of the major disasters and wars and you will always find people who saw what was coming and told others, but no one would believe them. If a hurricane wipes out whole cities, you would think that no one would build there again, but they do, almost immediately. As adults, we are still like babies playing peek-a-boo, if we don't see the children dying of malaria then it must not be happening. If we don't see the millions of children going to bed hungry, then they must be well fed and happy. The tragedy is that there are children starving, children dying of malaria, millions underfed and malnourished, and we do nothing. Almost all of the human tragedies confronting us can be lessened or eliminated, but only if we act. In the 25th chapter of Matthew, Jesus very plainly tells everyone who He will welcome into His Kingdom. It is the ones who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, tended the sick, and visited the prisoners. Attending church services, Sunday School classes, and prayer breakfasts are meaningless—if you step over the hungry and homeless to get there. You don't have to do everything Jesus mentions in Matthew, but you must do something—even if you only help others who are doing the actual work which is just as good. There is an old saying that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. If you close your eyes to those who need what you can provide, you are truly blind and blind in a way that separates you from Christ. Jesus said that the least of those you help is Jesus Himself. If you love Him, helping others is not optional, but foundational.