“You have heard it said… but I say”
In this week’s lectionary text, Jesus is doing something truly remarkable. He is re-interpreting Scripture. He’s meddling with the Law – the sacred center of an entire people. “You have heard it said…but I say.” What a beautiful vision of Jesus at work inside the holy of holies – reinterpreting what cannot interpret itself.
If we jump too quickly into the specifics of Jesus’ interpretation (which is tempting), we lose sight of bigger truth – that Scripture, even life itself, needs an interpreter. It seems obvious, but reality does not interpret itself. It can’t. It always comes to us through someone’s eyes. The question, then, is through whose eyes do we see? Who are our interpreters?
Learning to see through the eyes of Jesus is a life-long process with at least two parts at work simultaneously.
Part 1 – “You have heard it said”
This is the part where Jesus helps us acknowledge the interpretive lenses that shape the way we see. Much of our work at Street Psalms is helping leaders recognize their own lenses. Several come to mind: culture, ethnicity, gender, denomination, a long list of European theologians and pop culture gurus… Even things like scarcity, fear, and violence are lenses that profoundly shape the way we see.
These lenses create their own blind spots, or what others call fixations, attachments, shadows, and false-selves. Exposing these to the light of day can be as frightening as it is freeing. Over the years, we’ve had leaders walk out angry and frustrated, never to return. Others bend their knees in gratitude.
Part II – “But I say”
This is the part where Jesus is our rabbi, our teacher who re-interprets all of life. Learning to see through the eyes of Jesus begins with a deep intuition that there is goodness at the base of it all and that there is alwayssomething more going on than we can see on our own. The “something more” is always better than what we imagine. This holy intuition gives way to holy doubt, which is necessary for new sight.
When we see through the eyes of Jesus, cataracts fall like scales. No longer do we see from the outside looking in, as though we are separate from reality. We begin to see from the inside looking out. We no longer look behind, but within. What we see is New Creation, at play everywhere.
Rabbi Jesus, teach us to see through your eyes.
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