Friday, August 24, 2012

Called to See the World as God Sees It

Ann Arbor

On my Top Ten List of books that have influenced me spiritually is Thomas Kelly's A Testament of Devotion. I underlined so much of it that a friend, seeing this, said "You should have just spray-painted the pages."

Kelly regularly prayed, "God, help me to see earth, through heaven." That is, give me eyes to see this world, with all its people and events and relationships, as You see it. Grant me vision that sees sub specie aeternitatis.

I have found that this kind of seeing develops out of years of connecting with God in prayer. I continue to carve out large temporal spaces in my life to get alone with God and pray. (Prayer is: talking with God about what He and I are doing together.) I want to see things and people through the loving, redemptive lens of God. To see things otherwise, writes Henri Nouwen, is to see falsely.

Nouwen says:

"Spiritully, we are in God, in the Lord, at home in God. Our true identity is thst we are God's children. It is from that perspective - from God's perspective - that we perceive the world. We are called to see the world as God sees it; that is what theology is all about. Therefore, we are continually diagnosing the illusory quality of anything outside this perspective."
- Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life, 60