“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”
I think of this quote today as I read the story from Luke’s gospel of the rich man and Lazarus who both die. Lazarus dies and is carried away in the bosom of Abraham. The rich man dies and lives in torment. What’s interesting is that Lazarus lived outside the door of the rich man, covered in sores and poverty. Didn’t the rich man ever see Lazarus when we walked through that door??? I wonder what made Lazarus invisible to the rich man? After all, Lazarus is a presence and reminder to the Jewish people of their history. At one time, they were homeless and impoverished. Maybe the rich man didn’t want to be reminded of that part of his history or he was so far removed from it that he didn’t even notice.
Either way, the rich man was blind...on many levels. His blindness not only made him not see Lazarus, it also made him blind to himself. He couldn’t see his own Jewish heritage in a beggar outside of his door. He couldn’t see his own “brother” in the faith in need. He couldn’t see beyond his own wealth and his own needs. He couldn’t see who he really was.
Because of the Law, Lazarus was excluded from society. He was a beggar, impoverished. People in poverty were seen as not being in favor with God. That exclusion made for a clearer communal identity. God’s people are clean, wealthy, healthy, and followers of the Law. A nice, clear identity. Or is it?
They were blind to what really constituted who God’s people really were. The real people were the ones who were struggling with life and its curve balls! They fought demons on the inside! They fought diseases, illnesses and death! And yet, they were people with vision because they saw that they needed something that the rich man didn’t - relationship! They needed other people. They needed God. The rich man’s pride kept him in blindness and isolation. The sight and vision of Lazarus kept him in relationship with the source of his life!
What causes us to be blind and have no vision? What are the things that are getting in the way of relationships? What veil needs to be lifted from our eyes so that we can see the truth of ourselves? Of our lives? Of our choices? Of the ways we distance ourselves from others and from God? Are there times that we might be putting our hands over our eyes so that we don’t look at the one thing that we really should look at - our pride - our ego - our judgment of others and ourselves - our inability to forgive??
How might we seek healing for the blindness that has kept us safe and hidden today? What might your world look like if you asked for true sight and vision today? You might just see your inner Lazarus asking to be recognized, to be fed, to be healed…..and God inviting you to a newness of life!