• Philip

Sight vs Vision


I had my eyes tested this week. I've had 20/20 vision all my life - until now. "Your longsightedness has deteriorated slightly," the optician told me, "so you may need to wear glasses for driving as you're borderline on the DVLA requirements to read number plates." Then she said "varifocal"! Oh my goodness - I was sent into a downward spiral of thought about how I'm getting older and what that might mean. "You may not need them," she continued, "as these aren't natural lighting conditions and your sight might actually be better in proper daylight." She was messing with my head - one minute I'm having a grown-up conversation about glasses, and the next I'm not quite as advanced in decay as I thought I might be. Hopefully you know me well enough to know that I'm not ageist and nor do I have anything against anyone who wears glasses, but it shocked me at how quickly a change in my sight affected my vision. Unconsciously, I'd connected a deterioration in my sight as being a restriction on what I'd be able to do, a prelude to other things starting to fail in my body. I was surprised at the messages that I'd absorbed from the culture around me about what being useful meant; what it means to be 'less than perfect'. Of course, in all other aspects I'm the epitome of good health and physique (or so I tell myself) as that's what's required to be successful and prosperous (apparently). Many voices will shout me down and say, in this cultural moment, that it's OK to be whoever you are, however you are, whatever you are, and no-one will think any less of you. But that's not true. Advertising paints the picture of a perfect life (even if you wear glasses); lobby groups of all persuasions tell you that there's something wrong with you if you hold a different view to the predominant one; various experts pronounce the findings of their research with a confidence that can make even the most experienced practitioner question whether they've been any good at all. Whatever our field of work, life experience, or calling, there can often be a sense that we don't quite make the mark; that we fall short. Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:17-19) God's vision is that we, as his creation, hear the good news for ourselves. That he is proclaiming freedom for the prisoners - those who are caught in lifestyles and thought patterns that bind us up and enslave us to things that don't bring life and wholeness; sight for the blind - those who are so surrounded by darkness and oppression that they can't see the light of day, even in the noonday sun; freedom for the oppressed - those who are caught in tyrannical relationships, whether personal, professional or state-endorsed; and the year of the Lord's favour - a jubilee, when all debts are wiped clean, all slaves released and everyone is able to return to their rightful home. It's a vision that isn't limited by our physical circumstances or condition. It's a vision that welcomes all, however far they might feel from God. It's a vision that restores and reestablishes right relationships within creation. And, it's a vision that releases us from the need to be perfect, because only He is. God is God, and we are not. It's a vision that I want to see happen too. If you see me wearing glasses, you'll know that my sight is deteriorating, but I can assure you that my vision is still crystal clear.

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