Hear

Today we read in Matthew's gospel about John's question to Jesus (Matthew 11:2-11).  Jesus responds by quoting some of our Isaiah passage about the blind receiving sight and the lame walking (Matthew 11:4).  We have to remember that John is in prison where he cannot see all that is happening.  He did baptize Jesus, as a matter of fact he argued about whether or not it was proper (Matthew 3:13-15).  Now that he is in prison and alone he is faced with his doubts.  After all we read Isaiah this morning and think all will be well once God's kingdom and the leader of it comes, being in prison does not help this outlook of peace and unity. 

So John doubts.  He wants assurance and so do we.  We come into this season hearing the story, making the same connections, and thinking the same thoughts and it is hard for us to hear the story anew.  I got to thinking about new ways to hear it.  After all John has to hear this in a new way, from in prison and full of doubt. 

I think of the time I met my first deaf person.  Butch was determined he would teach me how to sign.  Because it was important to him to include these new people of faith he was meeting into his world.  If I hadn't taken some of his courses and then went on to an interpreters course at Baxter School for the Deaf I would have never understood his language, his culture, his worldview.  I now look at signing in a totally different way, always wanting to learn, to remember how to do it, and the beauty of the language.  I wonder if we heard the story and understood it in a new language if our doubts, because of the troubles of this world, would ease and we could truly hear the hope of these passages. 

Hearing and believing in a peaceful, loving, kingdom of beauty is hard for us to imagine.  It is what is promised from long ago.  No matter what our circumstances there is still a glimmer that might shine through even if we struggle with this season.  Yes, we live in an imperfect world, but we believe in a God who dared to send a son to our care in the form of a child.  God has a steadfast and enduring love for this imperfect world.