Celebrating the sense of sight

Recently I began a series of sermons in my church that looked at the five senses. Preparing for this series has made me so much more aware of how amazing the senses really are. We easily take them for granted as if they don’t add much to our lives. But they surely do.

Recently I began a series of sermons in my church that looked at the five senses. Preparing for this series has made me so much more aware of how amazing the senses really are. We easily take them for granted as if they don’t add much to our lives. But they surely do.

Imagine for a moment if you were blind. The things you would suddenly miss. You would not be able to read this paper or this column. You could not watch television or movies. Yes, you could hear them but that is not nearly as appealing as watching. You would not be able to drive. You couldn’t play sports like soccer, hockey or baseball which depend so much on sight. The shape and colour of flowers, the beauty of a landscape would not illuminate your vision. You would not be able to see the face of someone you love or note the expressions of joy, surprise or delight they might display.

What a wonderful gift God has equipped us with – the gift of sight. It is a gift which enables us to see beauty in all of its splendour. Not only at the time of seeing it but the sight creates a memory that we can go back to again and again. I can still see my first born son at his birth. The image of an elk, with a full set of antlers, posing on a hilltop is etched in my memory. The grandeur of a mountain vista near Nordegg lingers in my mind. And all that beauty and those memories are there because God created us with the gift of sight.

To think that it is this little orb of fluid and membrane, the eye, which translates the huge variety of colours and shapes and designs present in the world into information that we can see in our brain. I am stunned by the intricate and complicated process that makes up vision. All those parts and muscles and fibres and atoms that make sight possible and all of them in just the right position and place. Only one or two things out of place and we could not see, our vision would be impaired. God is truly amazing as our Creator.

Sight is so instrumental when it comes to learning and gaining knowledge. We can learn a lot through hearing and some through touch, taste and smell. But the amount of information we take in through sight is phenomenal. No doubt you have heard the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words.” It is sight which makes that quote true.

Of course, sight and light are very closely connected. When the lights are suddenly turned off in a dark room, you realize how important light is to the whole sense of seeing. Light also displays the whole spectrum of colour. We are able to see reds and greens and blues because of light. Colour brings out so much more of the beauty in a thing. It is no surprise that the first thing God created was light. I think he created it first so that from the very beginning we could see the beauty of his creation.

Notice at the end of the day, when the sun is going down and the light is fading, how colour begins to disappear. We are left with different shades of gray. Though gray can have its own beauty, it is just not as vibrant and alive. And when night falls, it becomes difficult to see anything. Thank you God for light to go along with the gift of sight.

Sight is also very instrumental when it comes to movement and direction. Without being able to see, our world is limited and we can only move about very carefully. Otherwise we bump into walls, trip over rocks, and easily lose our way. I’ve thought about the Braille you sometimes find on bathroom doors in restaurants. Wonderful idea, I suppose, but how does a blind person even find the door so that he can touch it and read it. Our sight keeps us safe and keeps us from getting lost. Again what an awesome gift God has given us so that we can find our way.

Sight does have limitations however. It can only see the surface, the outside of things or people. It does not look into the heart or beneath. As a result sight can be deceiving. Optical illusions can fool us into seeing what’s not there. Knowing a person is more than just what we see. And beauty takes into account many other things besides what our eyes have envisioned.

Sight cannot see all things, such as God. Many people including myself have wanted to see God. But our eyes cannot tolerate everything. We know that looking directly at the sun would make us blind. The light is too bright. Seeing God would be similar, too much for our eyes to bear. However, there is one consolation for us. God does allow us to see Him indirectly. We can see the results of his work, where He has been, what He has done. We see that in creation, in people, in art, in a thousand different ways. Then with the capacity for sight, and the gift of faith, we can celebrate the beauty of God.

Sight is a sense that we should celebrate. It adds so much to our lives. Without it, one truly is handicapped. It is also something to thank and praise God for. Use the gift of sight well.

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