simple: adj., composed of a single element; not compound or divided
–Merriam-Webster’s 10th Collegiate Dictionary
Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
–1 John 3:2-3
In the first Beatitude, Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God,” which is perhaps why John exhorts his readers to purify themselves—so that they may attain the hope they have of seeing God.
Of course, such perfect seeing is a long way off. In this world, we see in glimpses, snatches, through a glass darkly. But still, I long for such glimpses. I rejoice when I see, however darkly, through that glass.
Lately, the glimpses have seemed few and far between. This is not because God is absent. It is because I am. I have been preoccupied for a while now, obsessing over books sales (or lack thereof) and how that will affect my career as a writer. And so, worried about my future, I’ve not been present in my life—and have no doubt missed many graced moments when, if I’d been paying attention, I would have seen the presence and love of God.
In her book, Breathe, Keri Wyatt Kent writes that the opposite of simplicity is not complexity, but duplicity. Duplicity is a division. Di-vision. Two visions. We cannot live with two visions.
But I try. Oh how I try. I live with one eye on me and one eye on God. And it wears me out. Because here’s the thing: my eyes can’t do that. Invariably, both eyes end up looking at me, and I am inherently divided: my wants, needs, hopes, fears, loves, hates. Looking at myself isn’t just duplicity; it’s multiplicity, and it’s a recipe for crazy-making. (Just ask my husband. Never mind—please don’t!)
I need a single vision, one that is focused wholly on God. I want the single eye, the single heart that Jesus had.
Purify yourselves, as he is pure.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Create in me a pure heart, O God.
The lectionary passages for the Third Sunday of Easter:
1 John 3:1-7