Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending 2
Ev'ry eye shall now behold him,
robed in dreadful majesty;
those who set at naught and sold him,
pierced, and nailed him to the tree,
deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
shall the true Messiah see.
Since first watching the news story a couple of years ago, I have marveled at the gifts of modern medical science and the ingenuity of a pair of clinicians who are bringing sight to the blind in the developing world at a cost of a mere $25 a patient. There are 36 million people across the globe stricken with preventable or curable blindness, with around half of these individuals suffering from cataracts. Nepalese ophthalmologist Dr. Sanduk Ruit devised a highly efficient and first-world quality surgical technique to implant new lenses in cataract patients in just ten minutes. Joined by American ophthalmologist Dr. Geoffrey Tabin, they created the Himalayan Cataract Project, which now goes into more than seven developing countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. They set up “shop” and perform hundreds of surgeries a day when they visit needy areas. At the same time, they are training local eye specialists in their technique so that entire regions or countries can benefit from this one visit. The blind are a financial burden on their families and villages, so these eye doctors are improving the economic standards for the developing countries they visit, all at $25/person.
God seems to care about blindness. The psalmist and the prophets speak of God curing blindness or foretell a future when the eyes of the blind will be opened (Psalm 146:8, Isaiah 35:5). That future we see in Jesus and the disciples who healed the blind, yet Jesus seemed to think there were two kinds of blindness: physical blindness and spiritual blindness. He would restore sight to the blind, to those who could not see. Yet the Gospels tell us of many encounters Jesus had with those who were spiritually blind, with Jesus proclaiming about the Pharisees saying, “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind.” (Matthew 15:14)
Today’s verse speaks of those who were spiritually blind: unable or unwilling to see the gift who was Jesus, the gift for the life of the world. They plotted against Him, betrayed Him and crucified Him. How dreadful for them, when their eyes were opened, and they see Christ’s true identity.
Advent’s waiting urges us to set aside our spiritual blindness; however, it manifests in our own lives. Sometimes it is when we fail to love our neighbor. Sometimes it is when we cannot be generous with the abundance we have received from God. Sometimes it is when we turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to the needs of others.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a surgical technique that could cure our spiritual blindness at the cost of $25? Yet the cure for spiritual blindness not only requires God’s surgical grace, but our active participation in our ongoing conversion as well. Pray for the grace, this Advent, to engage more and more with God’s efforts to bring sight to our spiritual blindness, so that we may continue to grow as disciples of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.