Last Sunday, the pastor of the church I serve showed this video in the “moment for adults”. I know what you’re thinking didn’t you mean “moment for children”? No, I didn’t, thank you very much! Last Sunday we focused on children, in fact, the message was “The Old Turtle and the Broken Truth” (a children’s book). During the time in the beginning of the service when normally we would invite the children to come to the front and gather around for a brief lesson Steven invited adults, you would have been amazed at how many people we had come up to sit on the stairs of the chancel. There were folks from 18-75ish! It was quite beautiful.
But enough about that…this post is about this video. The guy is given glasses to see the innermost pain in the people around him. At first glance I thought “this would be awesome”, but then I started thinking. (DISCLAIMER: I will admit that I have seen this video before in another context and then discussed it with members of the church’s session, so these ideas are formed and borrowed from those conversations)
Maybe there is a reason that we don’t have these glasses. If we had these glasses we could do the “right” thing and reach out to those we see hurting, (like the man to the skateboarder) or we could just give one more way to label them, “That guy is inconsiderate because his wife left him” or something. Maybe we just need this video, and people around us, to help us to remember, as my friend Carrie says, “there’s something else going on there!”.
If we all were able to see each other’s innermost pain we certainly could reach out and know better how to “fix” it but is that what we are really called to do. I’m not sure. I think it is wonderful to find out about each other, but I think part of the wonder of that is through relationship. If we know each other’s stuff without having to learn or ask questions or built trust are we really in community? I think that just might perpetuate the lie that we can “fix” each other.
Don’t get me wrong I think it’s great if we can reach out to someone in their time of need, I just don’t think we need to know everything going in. I believe we are called to serve others whether or not we know why they are the way they are, it is through that service that we get to know the people we serve more fully and learn about ourselves. It is through those interactions that we get to know more about the unfathomable Creator, and God’s infinite self-giving love. (I had to throw some Calvin in there “Know God, Know Thyself” it is the 500th anniversary of his birth!)
Maybe through serving others, being in relationship with others, we are given the proper prescription lenses to see them with their innermost pain and love them all the more. Questions, Questions?