Luke 24:13-35 & Philippians 2:3-11
I love bush walking, I love looking outward and upward to see vast expanses of sky, mountains, hills, sand dunes, mighty forests, long stretches of coastline and beaches.
But I love to look down to see the beauty and wonder of animal tracks, rocks and gemstones, intricate flowers and flowing crystal clear water as it flows with the sunlight glistening on it. In these visions I see the macrocosm of God and the microcosm of Jesus when he was a man on Earth.
If we only view the grand vistas we miss out on the wonderful intricacies below us, and if we focus on the small stuff we can miss the expanse of God’s power and his desire for us to steward all creation.
Our two readings today give us some insight into the benefits of combining these two life views.
We have seen the funny yet poignant video – Mom’s Goggles – this morning. It reminds us that Mums see things through glasses that often advance the positive – the caring, the loving, the nurturing, the disciplining and the feeding that help infants develop into well rounded adults.
Good too is like that mother that we read about in so many biblical passages, who kneels down to us [each one of us] to help us see with the eyes of a trusting disciple.
Sometimes it is a gradual change and sometimes it is an instant revelation. Like the scales falling from Saul’s eyes so he could now see with the eyes of Paul – which we read about in Acts 9.
When we look at the post-resurrection events described in our Lukan reading we see not only a God who lowers himself to our level, but opens our eyes to a new way of feeling and understanding his macrocosmic loving nature.
Here’s the scene, two disciples – their names known to God but not to us, are walking towards a village called Emmaus – when a stranger came up and walked with them.
While they tell him about the events of Good Friday to this point on Sunday, he reminded them of the critical redeeming work accomplished through Christ. Although this is Jesus their hearts were such that they could still and recognise him with their eyes.
It is only when they saw his ‘actions’ at the table when he took bread, gave thanks and broke it for them, did their hearts strangely warm, their eyes were opened and they recognised Jesus for who he was and is and is to come. They began to see with new eyes.
Constantly in the Bible and particularly in the Psalms we read about the eyes of God – ever vigilant, ever protective, always upon us, but Jesus and the Holy Spirit has given us the ability – not only to see physically – but the gift of new ‘insight’ which does not require the mechanical workings of the human eye.
What insights into Christ’s love do you get when you look with your eyes or look with your heart?
What Emmaus experiences have you had that supported your faith during bad times?
Similarly, if you have had the love a mother or a mothering person, to what experiences do you hold fast.
Then we come to our second reading from Philippians and before we look at it – let me remind you of the title of the sermon – ‘Bend the knees to see with new eyes’.
Part of the reason why I don’t like pulpits is that it can separate you from the folks to whom you are relating. When I talk to the kids, I tend to come down to their level, sometimes even getting on my knees. Similarly, if someone is in a hospital bed, I don’t like to tower over them.
Think about a mother who comes down physically to the level of their children, then think about the King of Heaven, humbling himself to come to earth, humbling himself to kneel and wash the feet of the disciples, kneeling in prayer in the garden of Gesthemene on that terrible night of betrayal and arrest.
Think of him kneeling under the weight of the cross while on the Via Delarosa. Think of the Servant King – kneeling to and for all humankind in the events of Good Friday to Easter Sunday and beyond – That’s some set of knees he had.
Our knees also are often associated with kneeling, bowing and serving humbly as well as helping us with the pathways of life.
The Philippians reading incorporates what is written in Isaiah 45:23 – where it is God to whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. But then adds that Jesus because he humbled himself – he bowed his knees that he has now been ‘exalted to the highest place’.
But the clincher in this reading is verse 5.
‘Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus’
Through humility – bending the knee if you like – bringing yourself to another level or even lower than that – glory and honour is the end result.
When we bend our knees we can see with new eyes and a new heart. What is the state of your knees today, not your physical knees but your faith knees? Do they work in conjunction with your eyes – to humble yourself to God as you look up to him?
Do your eyes also focus down and around as you bring your knees and eyes in line with a broken world and its people?
Are yours, the eyes and knees of God?