So that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints.
In the summer of 2009, as I was finishing my seminary training, I landed a summer internship with a racial reconciliation ministry in the East End of Richmond, VA. At the time, it had just moved down the list of Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in America from three to eight. There was nonetheless a murder almost every day of our first week working there. We helped to run a summer day camp for the kids, lead worship in the intentionally black/white mixed church, and I taught summer school for English and Math to kids we were trying to catch up to grade level.
A part of our internship was having a mentor in the organization and being one to one of the older kids who were counselors in training. And we also met in a small group as staff for Bible study. A fellow counselor remarked one day of his experiences before this and now, "My eyes had been made small by my choices." Which I wrote in the margins of my Bible and read again this week. In other words, not going out of his way to find people of color, people in poverty, people who were oppressed or rejected, younger kids in need of mentors, his eyes saw less. Choosing to travel far outside his experiences and comfort opened his eyes. For many of us, we have been forced to live in new ways by the quarantine and to see new realities in the news. Our eyes are being made bigger, not by choice, but force.
For me, I could never have imagined online worship, drive-in worship, or virtual Bible study. My eyes were small. I did not imagine school from home, canceled sports and extracurriculars, canceled vacations, families home together on weekends and evenings. My eyes were small. But now I see possibilities. Empty schedules and a greater hunger for Christian fellowship and God's word, for worship. I couldn't imagine a summer without week-long trips, but now it's stirring creativity. I'm appreciating time at home and watching the milestones of my boys as I do this work. I'm observing hundreds of moments that are teaching me lessons for future sermons and reflections. My eyes are becoming larger by the decisions to observe and be joyful, thankful for what is good. My prayer is that you'll find what is good and choose to be embrace that good. And I hope you'll share it with me.