O God, the helper of all who call on You, have mercy on us and give us eyes of faith to see your Son that we may follow Him on the way that leads to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
I had passed by the man on many days on my daily walk. His front yard was meticulously tended. We had often exchanged pleasantries. He was a Christian and he knew I was a theology professor. Sometimes we spoke of matters of faith. Most of the time it was weather, the well-being of his family or mine, or some other matter of immediate but relatively trivial concern. I always looked forward to seeing him. And then, one day, I did not see him anymore. I passed his house a couple of weeks later and was dismayed to discover that his wife had posted his obituary in the front yard. He had died suddenly. I was not the only person who had gotten to know him by passing by and commenting on his abundant flowers and well-trimmed lawn. But she did not know how to get in touch with us. A clever person, she blew up the text and put it on the front lawn where we had met him so many times. I was grateful for her thoughtfulness.
I had thought him a congenial and gentle fellow, filling his retirement with flowers and yardwork. But my view was utterly inadequate. He had a beautiful yard, but he was also a tireless servant of people, volunteering at several organizations which fed the hungry and helped young people in our community. He had touched thousands of lives and made them better. I wish I would have asked him more about that. We pray in this prayer for the eyes of faith to see the Son so that we might follow him to eternal life. I often ask people where Jesus is. Can they point to him? They usually point upwards or sometimes to their own heart. But those are not the places where with eyes of faith we see the Son. Jesus tells us he is the child whose thirst we slake with a drink of cold water. But he also tells us that he is that one who calms our fears, forgives our sins, and tends to us in our need. He is all around us. You can see him in every needy person and in every Christian who serves those needs. You can even see him in your own hands and your life as you feed the hungry, forgive someone, or comfort a friend on a day of grief. He is present in those moments through you, bringing far more to those simple interactions than you could ever do. Open your eyes of faith today. Where do you see the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth? He has not departed this earth for heaven’s glory. He is incarnate, in the flesh, and right here as well as partaking in heaven’s glory.