As I was recently preparing for our on-line worship at my congregation of Calvary Moravian Church in Allentown (during this time of the pandemic), one of the hymns I asked a singer in our congregation to record was “Open my Eyes, that I may See.” Soon afterward, I started preparations for an Ecumenical Virtual Gathering through the Lehigh Conference of Churches. We would showcase four different Christian ministry expressions in our city of Allentown, ranging from the Mennonite church serving the homeless to various words of bilingual ministries. Just before, I was reflecting upon the ways that our congregation worked with a local Episcopalian church this fall to hold an honest discussion of race and faith within our nation. Finally, I finished my day listening to a passionate prayer to recognize our shared humanity across an array of differences from an A.M.E. Zion pastor.
I paused and thought, how narrow my vision would be, How dim I would see Christ’s light if I would only see with my Moravian lens.
As the hymn writer Clara Scott writes, “Open my eyes, that I may see, Glimpses of truth thou hast for me . . .Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!” For me, it has been through formal and spontaneous ecumenical work that my eyes have seen a more profound expression of the Spirit. I have personally grown, as has my congregation, from observing, understanding and learning from diverse expressions of faith. Never has learning about a different Christian or religious tradition made me lose my faith or step away from my journey with Christ. Instead, it deepened my own faith journey and opened my eyes to the wonders of the Spirit working in our world.
Can we challenge ourselves to do the same today? Learn something from a different tradition than your own? Experience another way of seeing the world or faith and open your eyes to see where God’s Spirit is leading you in your spiritual journey? Our community’s diverse expressions of faith can help us to open our eyes to where God’s Spirit is illuming places of hope and love in our world. “Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit Divine!”
Rev. Janel Rice
Calvary Moravian Church