Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are those who know themselves truly,
for they have seen themselves as God sees them.
Socrates may have said that ‘an unexamined life is not worth living’, but I find myself wondering more and more whether the journey of discipleship in Christ is primarily a journey into the love of God, which takes shape in our lives as we learn to see ourselves not as we want to be seen, and not as others see us, but as God sees us. The challenge here, is that God sees us with the unflinching gaze of love, and we so resist the idea of being loved. We live with such suppressed guilt, such internalised self-hatred, that the idea of being loved, of being truly forgiven and accepted, is as alien to us as our long lost childhoods. And yet God loves us, and forgives us, and when we learn to see ourselves as God sees us, we discover purity in place of pain, and find the face of God in the midst of our complex existence.
God of all love, teach us to see ourselves as you see us, so that we may learn to see others as you see them. Forgive us for those times when we privilege ourselves above the needs of others, for those times when we turn our gaze inwards and ignore the world around us. Help us instead to be alert to your world, in all its beauty and energy, with all its pain and suffering. May we rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. We pray this week particularly for all those affected by extreme weather – from the storms affecting the Carribean and the United States, to those hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the devastating monsoon in South Asia. Amen.