“Open My Eyes, Lord”
Anthony Doerr published a wonderfully written book that has been a best seller for many months. It is historical fiction about a young French girl who lives in a French coastal town during WW II. The town is occupied by the German army and is the target of allied bombing. The girl was blinded at an early age, hence the title, “All the light we cannot see”.
The title turns out to be as inspiring as the book. The girl is Marie-Laure.
Marie’s father makes a miniature detailed model of the town so that when she dares to venture outside she can find her way around. Her father’s skilled hands and loving attention illuminated her world of darkness and gave her the light of understanding. She indeed learned a different way of seeing, a different way of knowing her way around.
Now if I ask you if you can see my hand you would say I see it. If I describe in detail how this microphone works you might say , Oh, I see, as a statement of understanding.
With that introduction I want to tell you a different story. In 1970 Kay and I moved to Gettysburg and joined St. James Church. At that time the Gay and Lesbian community was not openly discussed, or understood, or accepted into mainstream society. It was discriminated against in local businesses, the military, many churches, Scouting, coaching, housing, and more.
I myself was not sympathetic with their lifestyle, and gays and lesbians themselves were afraid of discovery and often afflicted by guilt and shame.
Undoubtedly many were Christians. But the small light that shone among their community was not visible due to my own blindness.
46 years later, after their long struggle, and with changes in human rights laws, and new evidence of the variability of human nature we achieved a milestone 3 weeks ago and became a RIC church. There was at that moment a coincident and rather sudden realization of the slow but steady sea change in my own thinking.
Now we affirm our reconciliation with all people, including the LGBT community that I and others once shunned. They, like most baptized people have always walked in the light but it was not a light that I could see..
Now my dark glasses have cleared. Now they reflect an expanded and inclusive view of our faith community. The light that shines among them, as it does among us is now clearly visible, and recognizable. It is one we also see at the communion rail, as if face to face, this is my body, this is my blood.
Communion, community, one more triumph of faith over prejudice. A light we now see clearly..