The hearing ear and the seeing eye – the Lord has made them both. Proverbs 20:12 (NRSV)
This morning we are going to try two experiments. First, take your left and right index fingers and insert them into your left and right ear canals, pushing them in as far as you can to eliminate all sounds. Do you hear a muffled sound like when all is quiet and you are aboard an airplane. You are still hearing, even though it is a muffled sound. You can now remove your fingers from your ears. We are so conditioned by sound that pure silence is elusive. Silence has also proven to be really uncomfortable for many people. It is hard to imagine being in an environment where you hear absolutely nothing.
Now imagine yourself in a bustling restaurant or in a stadium filled with cheering fans. In those places we hear so many sounds that it is hard to hear what a person, even seated next to us, is saying. In this environment we make the distinction between hearing and listening. With so many sounds you can hear them, even to the point of noting where the voices are coming from and identifying the instruments of the band. The sound level makes it difficult to listen.
Can you hear these sounds that I mention by description? A mosquito buzzing around your ear? A rooster crowing at daybreak? Raindrops falling on a tin roof? The piccolo solo in The Stars and Stripes Forever? Bells ringing from a church steeple? The tick tock of a grandfather clock? The hooting of an owl? The roar of Niagara Falls? The whistling of a tea kettle? Truly we are blessed to have ears that hear and listen.
Now close your eyes for a moment. What do you see? As I close mine I see nothing but blackness. How could I identify what I am seeing as blackness if I had never ever seen. How could I identify it as any color?
Outside we see leaves and insects with wings. Using our eyes when we examine the leaves, we notice that they have veins and that the tiny wings have multiple divisions. Looking at a newborn we see the ten tiny fingers and toes. Closer observation reveals the many tiny delicate features of the child. We often look, but don’t see!
Closing your eyes once again, can you see these images I describe? Sunlight dappling on a lake? Palm trees waving in the breeze? Hibiscus flowers in shades of coral, pink, red and yellow? Horses galloping in a large fenced in area? A double rainbow? Strong and weathered hands? Sandhill cranes serenely walking? Butterflies dancing between sips of nectar drawn from flowers? Today let us take time for our eyes to see and our ears to hear!
Master Designer, the Psalmist declared, “I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) We thank You for all our senses, and especially for ears to hear and eyes to see, enabling us to appreciate the beauty and wonder of Your creation. Help us to never take for granted or underestimate these precious gifts. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.