The Church is a Rats Blind Eye… Part 2
This is me on holiday in Mallorca earlier this year. 🙂
What has it got to do with this post!
It’s the other side of the coin.
What does it mean to be the eye that sees?
In the test with rats the eye that was not blindfolded developed a rich number of connections and synapses allowing dense data to be transmitted through the optic nerve to the brain.
Data that allowed colour perception. Not just primary colours, not just major contrasts, but to perceive subtlety of hues and saturation of the same colour. Without it the eye would perceive a disembodied face in a blanket of blue. There would be no ability to perceive depth – the sea behind me, the sky above me, what I’m wearing – all the data that puts the picture of me into spatial context in my surroundings would be lost.
That’s really how most people are when it comes to the spiritual world.
So how do we change?
The answer is actually easy.
Let’s first of all accept what we are: we are a spirit housed in a body. We often focus on developing and caring for our physical bodies and forget that the most important part of who we are is spirit. And our spirit needs care and development as much as our bodies, and indeed minds.
How do we do that?
Jesus gives us the most important aspect in
Mark 9. “This kind only comes out by prayer”.
When I preach on Mark 9, I ask, “how do we know that Jesus was spiritually strong in a way that the disciples were not?” People usually answer, “because Jesus was able to cast out the demon, whereas the disciples failed.”
That is certainly correct.
But it was not the first sign of his spiritual strength. The first sign of his spiritual strength was when he came down from the mountain and the bible says,
And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. Mark 9:15
Why were they so amazed? Jesus was a very familiar figure to them. He wasn’t dressed differently, he didn’t speak differently, why amazement?
In fact the translations don’t do the word justice. The word actually means they were struck with terror! Strong emotions overwhelmed their senses! They were dumbfounded!
Clearly the transfiguration had left its mark!
Jesus was transfigured when he was on the mountain, but he went up the mountain with another intention. Luke says…. Jesus went up the mountain to pray.
Prayer is exposure to the presence of God. It’s not a list of requests. It’s entering into a place of closeness and experience with a supernatural God. When Jesus went up to pray, his body was clothed with the Holy Spirit. It caused his clothes to shine, his body to glow. An audible voice came out of the heavenlies around him.
We only know this because it just so happens Peter, James and John were with him.
What about all the times when he was on his own? Were they devoid of experiences? When he went off on his own to pray and told his disciples he would see them on the other side of the lake and later they saw him walking on the water catching up, do we think he had just had a barren, experienceless prayer time with his Father? Was that what clothed him with spiritual strength and power?
I don’t think so.
Prayer is our primary means of transformation. It creates a rich environment of experience that gives us “eyes to see” into this spiritual realm.
But it’s not a short ride.
Absolutely not short!
It takes time. Lots of time spent in Gods presence. Not “quality time”. “Quality Time” is a euphemism for small quantities of time. A little bitty here, a little bitty there…. No, we need quantity time and focused time!
That will get us there.