“Looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”-Hebrews 12:2
What we “look to” matters. A lot. If you ask two witnesses to describe an event or two referees to call a game or two travellers to describe what they see, it matters that they are looking at the same thing. It matters what they are looking to or looking towards.
In the same way, for anyone who is on this journey with Christ together, it matters immensely what we are looking to. It matters immensely that we are looking in the same direction. After all, what we have in common is not simply a shared culture or background. It is not simply shared family ties or personal histories or political or intellectual or artistic points of view. We all come from diverse points all over the geographic and demographic maps. But, while our starting points may be different, what we hold in common as Christians is that we are all looking to the same place. We are all “looking to Jesus.”
And this matters. A lot.
This matters because, if we aren’t looking in the same direction, we will find ourselves getting turned around and lost along the way. We will find ourselves mistaking what is good with what it best, what is important with what is ultimate, and what is a means for pointing us to Jesus, who is our “end,” with the end itself. We will find ourselves turned around and heading in the wrong direction, mistaking the wayside and road signs meant to give us rest or point us towards our destination for the destination itself. And this confusion leads to disagreements as we take our eyes off the ‘why and where’ we are heading and focus on the ‘what’ we are doing and ‘how’ we are getting there. It leads to disagreements because the focus shifts from Jesus, who we share in common, to personal tastes and preferences, which are as diverse as we are. And these disagreements that are a challenge to our unity can give way to open fighting which is a challenge to our love and to our mission. Looking to the same place – looking to Jesus – matters. A lot.
But when we look to Jesus, all these other things fall into place. There becomes room for a strange prayer or a strange song or a strange preacher at the pulpit or strange plate at the potluck because we aren’t looking to these things. Instead, we are looking to Jesus. And seeing Jesus as he is, helps us to see everyone else for where they are too.