Saturday, September 20, 2014

Seeing, Listening, and Speaking

September 21, 2014Psalm 119:17-24

Seeing, Listening, and Speaking

Intro.: I can almost remember back to 2nd or 3rd grade when I first learned about my senses.

  1. Did you know that there are five senses.
    1. Smell
    2. Touch
    3. Taste
    4. Hearing
    5. Seeing
    6. There is a sense of awe as I remember the day I put those together – WOW!
  2. I felt the same way as I learned about communication – except it took more time.
    1. For most of us it was our voice – the cry
      1. Feed me
      2. Change me
      3. Hug me
      4. Let me sleep
      5. Turn me over
      6. Yep – I first learned to communicate with crying
    2. I suppose then came a word or two
      1. ma-ma
      2. da-da
      3. NO!
    3. As our muscles developed, we learned to point
      1. It is a wonderful way to communicate
      2. At RIT the deaf community use American Sign Language
      3. And most of us point or invent our own sign language to get our point across
    4. We might use our eyes to communicate
      1. a wink
      2. close eyes
      3. questioning eyes
    5. Eventually we learned to talk and write in complete sentences
      1. please and thank you
      2. communicate ideas
      3. though that can take awhile.
  3. These themes are the same ones that form the core of today's hymn
Open My Eyes That I May See


Trans:During the next few minutes I want to turn our focus to each of the three verses that were originally written for this hymn.

Born in Illinois, Clara Scott attended the first Music Institute held by C.M. Cady in Chicago, Ill., in 1856. By 1859, she was teaching music at the Ladies' Seminary, Lyons, Iowa. She married Henry Clay Scott in 1861, and published in 1882 the Royal Anthem Book, the first volume of choir anthems published by a woman.i

Psalm 119:18 is a prayer for spiritual insight.  It asks God, "Open my eyes, so that I may behold wondrous things out of your law."  Reading that verse inspired Clara Scott to write the hymn "Open My Eyes."  The opening verse of the hymn asks, "Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me."

But Clara was not satisfied to pray for open eyes.  She also wrote, "Open my ears, that I may hear voices of truth thou sendest clear." 

And she was not satisfied to ask God to receive blessings.  She also prayed that God would make her a blessing by helping her to speak to others about what God had revealed to her.  She wrote, "Open my mouth, and let me bear gladly the warm truth everywhere." 
Clara understood, and helped countless others to understand, that it is more blessed to give than to receive ––and that we, as Christians, are called to share the good news that we have received.

Clara wrote a number of other hymns, and even published a book entitled, Truth in Song for Lovers of Truth –– but "Open My Eyes" is the hymn for which she is remembered today.
Clara published "Open My Eyes" in 1895.  Two years later, as she was riding in a carriage, her horse was spooked and began running crazily through the streets.  Clara was thrown from the carriage and killed.  Reflecting on that, one of her biographers commented that she never knew how popular her hymn, "Open My Eyes" had become.

But I believe that one of her heavenly blessings will be to know just how many people have been blessed by the hymn that she wrote so late in her life.

In hymnal published in 1997, the editor added two additional verses to those we traditionally sing. When we sing the hymn we will have the opportunity to sing all five verses that are known today – the first three by the originally author, Clara Scott, and the last two added in 1997.ii

T.S. The themes that Clara Scott used in her hymn are found throughout scripture.

  1. We start or journey with Psalm 119:18: Open my eyes, so that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
    1. There is nothing magical in reading God's word, but it will do nothing if we are not spending time in his word..
    2. God's word will influence our life because we allow it to come within reach of our lives.
    3. Time for a quiz – I know you love my quizzes, they make each of us look at or own lives. I don't want to necessarily know your answers. Those answers are between you and God. And what changes you make after taking the quiz is between you and God. But making the changes that God asks of you, will change your life and how you see your world.
      1. Are you in God's word daily?
      2. Do you have a plan – a chapter a day, ten verses a night, etc.?
      3. Do you take notes – in your Bible, in a journal, or in a separate notebook ?
      4. Do you share some of what you read with at least on other person?

(Ill.) When there is a beautiful sunset, you want to share it with others. If you see something wondrous in the word of God, you will want to share it with others. That's the basis of that last question.

  1. Jesus would often say at the conclusion of a story, “He who has ears, let him hear.“
    1. Closed ears become a metaphor for a lack of understanding:

(Ill.) In the middle of His ministry, Jesus once said, "For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them" (Matthew 13:15).iii

(Ill.) When Jonathan was a four or five years old, he suddenly became hard of hearing. It concerned us as parents and we took him to the doctor. The doctor took out his tool to look at his ears and found something. It seems that he had been stuffing his ears with small pellets of Styrofoam used to fill beanbag chairs.

    1. May we not have our ears so stuffed with the world's input that we stop hearing what God has for us to hear and do.
  1. The Eyes and the Ears receive information – the mouth is different.
    1. While the eyes and the ears are receptive organs, the mouth has the capacity to project.
    2. The mouth may project "cursing and deceit and fraud" (Psalm 10:7),
    3. Or it may be an organ that projects praise, as Psalm 51:15 exhorts us: "O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise."iv

(Appl.) My prayer for each of you, today, is that even as your eyes and ears discover what God wants from you, that your mouth will be able to let others know about the faith that has formed you over the years. May we not live a silent faith, but a faith that others can see – and want for themselves.
Conclusion: Our eyes, our ears, and our mouth – these are the three senses that Clara Scott originally wrote about in 1895.

  1. But by 1997 two additional verses were added.
  2. The first is a prayer that my mind would be open to reading of God's love
  3. The second is a prayer that I may be used by God to serve Him.
  4. As we sing today's hymn, I hope that all five of the prayers that have become this hymn are yours:
    today, tomorrow, and for as long as God needs you to serve Him here.