St. John’s Baptist Church

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Seeing With Eyes Closed

Sunday, September 9, 2018 – Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Seeing With Eyes Closed
Scripture: James 2:1-13

This sermon is the second of five in a series entitled: “Actively Faithful Faithfully Active Living: Learning to Live by Characteristics of God’s Spirit of Love”

Proclaimer: Rev. Dennis W. Foust, PhD

Click here to download this sermon in PDF format.


People carried signs reading, “We want equality now.” The demonstration was quiet, but tense.

A little girl and her mother were standing next to the curb near where the demonstrators walked.

The little girl said, “Mommy, tell me what you see.

A man standing nearby heard and offered to hold the child higher.

As he held the little girl in his arms, she said, “Thank you, Mister. I want equality too.

Then she surprised him with a question: “Mister, why doesn’t my daddy like these people?”

The man said, “Well, we’re all different.”

Then, for the first time, his eyes met the eyes of the little girl and he noticed she was blind.

To see people the way God sees them, you may need to see them with your eyes closed and your heart open.

People tell you it is normal human nature to show favoritism and be partial to people you prefer?

Of course, they are correct; it is human nature. But, you have committed your life to follow Jesus.

You are stewards of God’s gift of faith. You actively faithfully pursue the nature of God.

James, brother of Jesus, wrote to the scattered Church that they should see others with eyes closed and hearts opened to active faith; faith actively shaping God’s character in followers of Jesus.

He spoke of faith that works; faith maturing in us to relate God’s character of love.

James describes a world where the price tag of a Kia Rio is switched with a Hummer.

He said the poor should be valued highly. This was abnormal then – and is abnormal now.

Are you familiar with the arcade game known as the Claw Machine? You move a giant claw or crane inside a glass box trying to grab a stuffed animal or toy. Now and then, a child becomes so fixed on an item they climb inside and get stuck. This happens to us when we fixate on the external value of a person. We become stuck inside the cultural machine of pursuing human nature rather than God’s nature.

Beloved, our vision is to be a church learning how to love as God loves.

Because God loves everyone, we are learning to love everyone.

We want to value each person as a creation of God. If any of us begins showing partiality due to external factors, we should hear James calling us to relate mercy.

  • You relate mercy by looking beyond the faults of a person to see their needs.
  • You relate mercy by looking beyond what the other person is NOT to see them the way God sees them.
  • You relate mercy by looking inside the other person and taking actions to help them see themselves how God sees them and helping them become who God is calling them to be.

And when you find it difficult to relate mercy to someone, bow your head and ask God to help you look at them with your heart open to active faith by seeing them with your eyes closed in prayer.

Amen and AMEN!