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3rd December - Blind people

Because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18

Biblical references to blindness are almost always negative, and for many visually impaired people such negative connotations are distressing, even enough to turn some away from the church entirely. It is important to look beyond this outmoded understanding of blindness, and realise that nowadays visually impaired people lead lives of worth to themselves and others. Instead of feeling pity consider what positive benefits sightlessness can confer. Without being bombarded by the constant visual stimuli of this consumerist world, we can focus upon true reality - the stress in a friend's voice masked by their assumed cheerful expression; the inner essence of a person rather than their external appearance, age or race; the delight of natural sounds, smells and textures in the garden, or within the home. Sightlessness may limit some independent travel or activity, but it may also give time to consider the larger questions of life, or to concentrate on the minutiae of the well-being of family and friends.

Yes, some do, through age as well as visual impairment, become house-bound, nervous and vulnerable, but a friendly word or neighbourly offer of assistance can make all the difference, and help build a bridge to the world beyond the front door.

Dr Fiona Gameson has been blind since the age of 3. However, she has not seen this as a handicap, winning a scholarship to Oxford, teaching at various universities, being churchwarden for six years in Canterbury before coming to Durham where she is currently a mentor for St Cuthbert's Society, Durham University.

Any one who might be interested in the local Talking Newspaper service should contact www.cdsbps.co.uk

Daily prayer

O Lord, give us all, we pray, the clarity of inner sight and the strength of discernment to see truly the riches all have to offer to one another. Open our hearts to perceive the beauty within others, the glory of your creation, and the depth of your love for all of us.

Amen

Lord, in this time of Advent open our hearts to those who feel excluded from Your church.
Help us draw in those on the margins and place them in the centre of our family.

Amen