My father was an optician. He made eye glasses, translating the prescription an ophthalmologist or optometrist wrote, to grind the glass of your lens that fit in your frames so you could see better.
I often wished dad could make magic glasses. Ones that took the guesswork out of life. Glasses that allow us to see into the future before making a decision. Glasses that discern if someone is telling the truth. Glasses that help us see ourselves as others see us.
Opticians are not able to make magic glasses, but by faith you and I have learned to move through life without them.
When we draw closer to the one who made us and the world in which we live, we begin to peek out at the world through "God glasses." When we look through these special glasses we begin to see things closer to how God sees them.
It is that glimpse of the Earth that calls us to care for our environment. Among the things we are concerned about is clean air to breathe, good water to drink and use and land that sustains us with food and lumber.
The true magic comes when we look at people through these "God glasses" and begin to appreciate them as God does. That leads us to work for basic rights for everyone, that all are fed and have adequate shelter. We become concerned that people have heat for the winter and health care when needed. Public schools were created to ensure that all children be educated. Many also work to provide safe space for children and adults.
Up to this point most of us probably can say, "Sure, no problem." But then folks talk about some of the issues of the day our safe spaces are not so safe. The issues of war and peace, of everyone's rights and people who have a different sexual orientation or even a different political persuasion than we do, divide us today.
I think glass can be helpful in thinking about our differences, too. I love to look at stained glass windows. When the sun shines through those differently colored pieces of glass it is beautiful. If the pieces of glass were the same color, it wouldn't be special at all.
I think that is how it works with each of us and the "God glasses." When we have those glasses on we still are seeing through our own differently colored pieces of glass. So we have different ways of understanding what we see. This impacts the ways we are passionate about working for justice in our world.
We are just processing two political conventions. Both men who will be running for President of our wonderful country want to make our country better. However, they want to go about doing that in different ways to the best of their abilities. I think when God looks at each of them it is with love.
Do you have the faith to take a peek through your "God Glasses" with me and see both of them with love? Vote for the one you believe will do the best job, but don't demonize the other.
And while you have hold of those "God glasses" let's put them on more often and let God adjust them a bit more for you to see with.
- Bernstine is the executive director of United Churches of Lycoming County.