For Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, religion at its best teaches us how to “see” with greater clarity, which increases our courage and capacity to love ourselves, others, even our enemies.
In its truest sense, religion should reconnect human beings—bind them again—to the creation, to one another, to the divine, to love. Religion should reveal to us how much we need one another to survive and thrive. Religion should be revelatory and revolutionary, helping us see how our biases about color, gender, sexuality, and class cause deep hurt to both body and soul. . . .
The teaching of rabbi Jesus is simple: Love God. Love neighbor. Love self. Love period. . . .
At a lecture in Israel, I heard one of my favorite rabbis, Donniel Hartman, say, “A life of faith isn’t just about walking with God, but how one walks with humanity. The core feature of a moral life is to see. Choosing not to see is immoral. The goal of religion is to improve our willingness and our ability to see.” A spiritual life is supposed to help us see better. The aim of Love, and any God worth worshipping, is improved sight. . . .
An ethical and moral life is about letting go of indifference and learning how to see. It’s about waking up to love ourselves, love our posse, and love our world. Imagine love as our shared spiritual practice, binding us to one another, enabling us to see our connection—that we are kin. . . .
In order to live a moral life, a good life, an ubuntu life , we must commit to a life of love that means seeing all the things. See your neighbor suffering and do something about it. See a stranger laboring under a heavy load and help out. See lies spoken and shared in social media and call foul. See a friend soaring, and say, “I see you, beautiful creature!” to build their self-love tank. . . .
Friend, you are the only one standing where you stand, seeing what you see, with your vantage point, your story. You are right there for a reason: to have, as my dear friend Ruby Sales says, “hindsight, insight, and foresight.” I want us to learn to see, with our eyes wide open, how best to be healers and transformers. I want us to really see, to fully awaken, to the hot-mess times we are in and to the incredible power we have to love ourselves into wellness. . . .
I want us open to revelation, not afraid of it, and open to the ways that it will provoke us to believe assiduously in how lovable we each are, and in the love between us and among us because, actually, believing is seeing.
Believing is seeing our connection: We are one.
 Jacqui Lewis, “The Spirit of Ubuntu,” Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, February 7, 2022.
Jacqui Lewis, “Apocalypse Now: Love, Believing, and Seeing,” Oneing 10, no. 1, Unveiled (Spring 2022): 41, 42–43, 44–45. Available in print and PDF download.
Explore Further. . .
- Listen to Brian McLaren and CAC staff unpack how biases are connected to seeing in Learning How to See.
- Learn more about this year’s theme Nothing Stands Alone.
- Meet the team behind the Daily Meditations.
Image credit: Young Shih, Untitled (detail), 2021, photograph, Taiwan, Free Use. Charles O’Rear, Grasses After Spring Rain (detail), 1973, photograph, Nebraska, Public Domain. Mohsen Ameri, Untitled (detail), 2021, photograph, Iran, Free Use. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge the image.
This week’s images appear in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story.
Image inspiration: Dewdrops on grass, sunlight on the path, trees reaching skyward. It’s easy to overlook things we think we have seen already seen before. How can we look more deeply, allow our sight to be shifted so as to see anew?
Story from Our Community:
I was raised evangelical. I married a very legalistic evangelical. I became more and more self-righteous, convinced Reflecting on ‘ways of seeing’ reminds me that, as we move out of pandemic, it will be helpful if we all try to see reality from a different perspective. We need new ways of looking at things. Weighing up traditional pros and cons, liberal vs. conservative, etc., will not bring about change. We need a third force, a third way that can amalgamate all three forces and produce a better way.
Prayer for our community:
God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough, because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.