Better one or two? Three or two? Better three or one? It is amazing to me how eye doctors and their staffs can figure out the right prescription to correct our vision! I have been slow finding an eye doctor since we moved from Sierra Vista. A little over a week ago I went to my new eye doctor, and last Friday I picked up my new glasses. When the eye doctor visited with me, he said that my eyes are dry, and I need to start using eye drops. He also wants to see me back in three months when he can dilate my eyes and do a thorough inspection of what is happening with my eyes.

One of the things we know is happening is that I have cataracts forming in both eyes. My previous eye doctor made the diagnosis, and my current eye doctor confirmed it. Cataracts can take a long time to “ripen”, and to reach the point where they can be removed with surgery. “Floaters” are an additional reality with my eyes. This eye doctor said that he could see some of the floaters and likes to keep track of them.

It is odd knowing my vision will dim over the years, and there is nothing I can do on my own to fix it. I’m grateful God gave some people the skills and training to be able to help people like us. Can we imagine if we had to make our own glasses, or do our own eye surgeries? It sounds pretty impossible! I expect it is easy for us to take for granted there will always be someone available to treat our eye-care needs. What would the world be like without them?

Do we ever stop to think about the training we have as Christians, both laity and clergy? Our purpose is helping other people see the freedom, hope, and love being offered to them through Jesus Christ. So many people are struggling with life and are looking for the answer we are able to provide. I have come to the conclusion that the majority of people are unable to do this by themselves. They need a Christian to reach out to them, and to show them how it is possible to live a Christian life. It is hard to imagine something they haven’t seen.

I have never known a time when there weren’t Christians in my life. It is easy for us, and the world, to take for granted Christians will always be around. What would happen, though, if all the current Christians quit sharing their Christianity with other people? Or, if people quit listening?

People in our world are hungry for love, hope, and peace in their lives. It is easy to see they are trying to find it in all kinds of places, both within, and outside of, religion. I believe there is a hole in our spirit that can only be filled by Christ. A few people find Christ on their own, while I think most people are introduced to Christ by someone who already believes.

People, though, are very cynical about what is real, and what is fake. How can United Methodist Christians be a people of radical grace and love when we are fighting among ourselves? The world wants to see how deep our Christianity runs, and if our words are reflected in our actions. If we can’t love one another as United Methodist Christians, how are we going to love people on the edge of society?

Many people seem to say the major issue is about correct theology, and how we read the Bible. “We can’t fully love people if we are teaching them bad theology.” It’s easy, though, to use this position as a weapon to batter people from different positions into submission. Are we sure we aren’t looking for excuses to why we don’t have to love each other? Let’s show the world (which has a critical eye!) that it is possible to both disagree with each other, and love each other, at the same time. We can’t control other people; however, we can control ourselves. We get to choose what we say, what we do, and even what comments we write on Facebook (I have seen some shocking comments!). Let’s act in a Christian way where other people say, “I would like to be more like them”. This shouldn’t be just during this time of crisis in the U.M.C, but every day for the rest of our lives.

              Your brother on the journey, Mark

Further thoughts: The count-down has started! There will be two more “Mark’s Musings” before my renewal leave starts on June 30. My leave ends on September 4, and articles will start again on September 10. I wonder what new material the summer will provide.

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