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Lenten Lights R ~ Visibility

New Orleans - Blue Door

Walking through the streets of New Orleans, so much captures my vision: the visible and the hidden. A wrought iron window in a blue door pulls me up for a closer look at its intricate beauty. When I lift my camera, I focus on the sunlight falling on a blooming tree in the courtyard beyond. Only when I load my pictures to my computer, and see more fully, do I notice the security camera capturing me.

This week’s scripture texts lead us through teachings about seeing as God sees, prayers for visible guidance, works of darkness and descriptions of light, the intricacies of seeing and being seen, shadows of death, and stories of healing blindness. Living in the twenty-first century in a totalizing culture of surveillance (from the NSA to the ubiquitous selfie) troubles the waters of what it means to see and be seen. The constant vigilance and feeling of being watched, pollutes the safe space required for playful, creative and sacred visibility of the world, self and others.

The Pharisees ask Jesus: “Surely we are not blind, are we?” It is a relevant question for us, too. With all the seeing, visibility and surveillance, all the cameras capturing and recording everything around us, how are we still blind, and what exactly are we missing?

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