by Marilyn Ehle
‘I (resolved) to be as wide open toward people and their needs as I am toward God. Windows open outward as well as upward. Windows especially open downward where people need most.’ Frank Laubach in Letters by a Modern Mystic
“…Jesus saw their faith…He saw a man named Matthew…Jesus turned and saw her…News of this spread throughout the region.” Matthew 9
Windows in the house of my childhood were sash windows: the bottom half pushed up, the top half could be pulled down. My mother—who considered washing windows a frequent necessity—twisted herself into unimaginable poses while sitting on the sill to wash the exterior of these windows.
Imagine my delight while living in Germany to discover a much advanced window design. In a country where sparkling windows were a priority, not an option, engineers built them with unique hinges at the bottoms, sides and tops. With a turn of handles to just the right angle, the windows could swing up from the bottom, down from the top, or out from the side. Not only did housecleaning become a much easier task, but even in a rainstorm, windows could be opened to allow refreshing breezes into the house without water damaging floors or walls.
The maneuverability of those windows caught my attention. Laubach writes that he wanted to not only look upward toward God, but “open downward where people need most.” Do you ever find yourself looking away from the homeless person standing at the intersection with a sign reading, “Out of work. Need food”? Do you glance away in church where a frazzled young mom is unsuccessful in stifling her toddler’s cries? Do you avert your eyes if you see a woman clothed from head to toe in black?
Reading through the gospels, it is amazing to discover the number of times the phrase “Jesus saw” occurs. He found the movement up toward His Father and down toward people the normal way to live. The question remains: are the windows of my soul clean and wide open to see as He did? As we live and love toward that goal, the news of this wonder working Jesus will “spread throughout the region.”
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