THE EYES OF YOUR HEART – עיני הלבבות Cindy Elliott

HEBREW WORD FOR TAMMUZ – Being Holy ~ Being Whole

The trees stand like guards of the Everlasting; the flowers like signpost of His goodness – only we have failed to be testimonies to His presence, token of His trust. How could we have lived in the shadow of greatness and defied it? [1]

Wonder, or radical amazement, is a way of going beyond what is given in thing and thought, refusing to take anything for granted, to regard anything as final. It is our honest response to the grandeur and mystery of reality our confrontation with that which transcends the given. [2]

 

THE EYES OF YOUR HEART – – עיני הלבבות

I pray that He will give light to the eyes of your hearts, so that you will understand the hope to which He has called you, what rich glories there are in the inheritance He has promised His people.
Ephesians 1:18 CJB

John Gill shared in his commentary on Ephesians that “the eyes of the heart, or minds” is a Rabbinical phrase often met with in Jewish writings. [3] We see this phrase used by the author of Ephesians. But what does it mean?

I think most of us would agree that there is something more than just our natural seeing – there is also a spiritual seeing. We experience that ‘seeing’ every time we read the Word and the Word springs to life. It is the seeing when we slow down and really look at creation and recognize the fingerprints of the Creator and the beauty of His creation. It is the seeing when we look at a fellow human being and say, “I’ve seen the face of G-d.” It’s what the psalmist meant when he said, “Open my eyes, so that I will see wonders from your Torah.” Moments when eternity breaks into our heart – those moments – ultimately it is G-d’s work in us – His gift.

In this Rosh Chodesh cycle of focusing on healing and creativity we might say that seeing with the  eyes of the heart is the art of beholding. Beholding the holy, the sacred – beholding G-d.

In Hebrew the word behold is hinneh הנה, a word that according to TWOT [4] means “Look!” “See!” It is a word that emphasizes the immediacy, the here-and-now-ness. When we read it in Scripture it is G-d saying “Look!” “See!” “This is important!” Something that should cause an intake of breath – absolutely it should catch our attention – and without a doubt it should cause us to stop.

And G-d’s “Look!” “See!”  are all around us. Our world is full of G-d’s emphasis of immediacy, the here-and-now-ness that He doesn’t want us to miss. “Look!” “See!” the opening of a new flower, the pure laughter of a child, that first cup of coffee each morning, the sloppy wet kiss from a puppy, the smile of a stranger, the hug of a friend, the light of Shabbat candles… Baruch HaShem!

There is a dawn of wonder and surprise in our souls, when the things that surround us suddenly slip off the triteness with which we have endowed them, and their strangeness opens like a gap between them and our mind, a gap that no words can fill. [5]

Holy, holy, holy moments of seeing, of understanding. Moments when we shift from the obvious and look with great care. Not so much seeing new things but seeing with new eyes, new understanding – unlocking a shock of how truly inadequate our awe for G-d’s glory has been – unleashing a flood of gratefulness and praise.

Georgia O’Keefe said, “Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time – like to have a friend takes time.” Beholding takes time. This art requires us to slow down. To step out of the rush and madness of life and into a service of wonder.

Is not listening to the pulse of wonder worth silence and abstinence from self-assertion? Why do we not set aside an hour for devotion to G-d by surrendering to stillness. We dwell on the edge of mystery and ignore it, wasting our souls and risking our stake in G-d. [6]

Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe. Abba may we learn to cultivate the art of beholding, the art of looking, seeing, waiting in Your Word, in this world, with each person we meet, in every situation. May we hear your hinneh – your gift to us. And may we respond Abba with hinneni – Here am I! Abba, You who surpass all glory, open the eyes of our hearts that we may see the testimonies of your goodness all around us. And with that opening of our eyes may we live in such a way that our lives will be a living testimony to others of Your presence – Your goodness and love, of Your hope – bringing life and healing. Amen

Deep Cries To Deep

I have always loved watching the sea dance
and listening to the ocean breeze speak eternity to my heart

The shore
it has alway been our special place
ours – my Abba’s and mine

I think I inherited this love of the shore from my Dad

Even after a night of work
my Dad would take my sisters and I down to the seashore
we would watch the first sliver of light rise over the waters
and even then I think I knew it was Holiness breaking in
embracing me, warming my heart

Even now
it is the one place without fail
that Holiness always always always
shines bright
the one place
I always feel His embrace
and the eyes of my heart can see

On those days when I am the only one
wandering on the shore
not a person, not a ship in sight
it is as if I am wandering on the edge of the universe
looking out over an immense expanse
the first breath of creation and the ongoing breath of eternity
roll out like a scroll in front of me
leaving me breathless

At times when there is a storm
one that reaches up from the deepest darkest depths
stirring up the lumbering giants
that rise and crest
and crash onto the shore
with the clash of cymbals and the crash of the drums
I run to the shore, to the water’s edge

Breathing deep to calm my spirit
whispering calls to Holiness
listening with the eyes of my heart

There it is
the heartbeat of my Beloved

Whew

That’s when silence really sings

Deep cries out to deep,
the sounds of the opened sluices of heaven;
all Your breakers and your billows
have swept over me.
By day Adonai will command His Hesed / Lovingkindness
and at night, His resting place will be with me;
This is my prayer to the Almighty, G-d of my life.
Psalm 42:8-9

Photo credits – shutterstock.com

1. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 341
2. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, ”Who Is Man, 78-79
3. Zohar in Deut. fol. 119. 3. Jetzirah, p. 22. 78. Ed. Rittangel. R. Levi ben Gersom in Gen. fol. 14. 3. & Philo de opificio Dei, p. 15. and Bechinat Olam, 260.
4. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr, Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Workbook Of The Old Testament
5. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Holy Dimension, 329
6. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 341

8 thoughts on “THE EYES OF YOUR HEART – עיני הלבבות Cindy Elliott

  1. ((((Cindy)))) I LOVE this and definitely spoke to my heart. You described how being at the ocean affects you, I feel the same, it has always been one of my favourite places and I never have had the words to describe how it makes me feel, but you have described it here so well. Even as a young adult I loved being at the ocean on my own and savouring the feeling until the sun sets and still not wanting to leave that feeling!!!

  2. Cindy, I love the beautiful artwork you create and have shared with us here, but I also love the way you paint with words. Your mind, heart, and spirit are your paints and brushes for our souls. With your inspired words, you say “hinneh הנה”, and we “look and see” the Lord and His creation with the eyes of our hearts. Blessings and love, Susan

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