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Seeing with our hearts

Easter’s new possibilities await

By Donna Frischknecht Jackson | Presbyterians Today

Crocuses bloom at Old Stone Well Farm, where the author can see the many God possibilities with the eyes of her heart. Donna Frischknecht Jackson

One early spring morning, in the season of Easter, I gazed upon my property that I had lovingly named “Old Stone Well Farm.” It was far from being a farm, but in my heart, I treasured its potential and held tightly to what I have come to call its “still-to-comes.”

I could see the yet-to-be planted fruit trees surrounding the gnarly old apple tree. I could see that much-needed barn finally standing at the base of the hill. I could see the goat pen arriving and placed near the chicken coop. (I will give a prize to the Presbyterians Today reader who counts the number of times I have mentioned my desire for raising goats!) As the sun rose, with it rose my hope that those “still-to-comes” were not just wistful dreaming. Despite plans being put on hold for one reason or another, I could see with my heart what was not visible to the eyes.

Frederick Buechner, who lives up the mountain road from me here in Vermont, wrote about the importance of seeing with the eyes of the heart, reminding us that often our sight fails because we see things as the world sees and not as God sees. We see things for what they are and not what they can be. I thought about that as I was writing this year’s Lenten devotional, “Lord, When Did We See You?” which is available online at Based on the Matthew 25 “I was” sayings of Jesus — I was hungry, thirsty, a stranger, sick, in prison and naked — I found myself realizing that to serve Christ boldly we need to see not with our eyes, but with our hearts. For when we allow our hearts to illumine the needs around us, we finally begin seeing clearly what God is asking of us. We see that systemic racism isn’t for someone else to dismantle. We see that hunger and poverty are not just something we give money toward, but real issues in our own community that need our action. When we see with our hearts, we might even start seeing vitality in our own congregations. We might even stop ringing the death knell for dwindling numbers and let the bells peal joyously that God, who is in the resurrection business, is re-creating our churches. To see with the heart is to finally see Jesus and, as Buechner wrote, see that his way of life is the only life worth living.

I gazed at my property and saw something beautiful that was not yet visible to others. I saw the potential. I saw the still-to-comes. I then heard a distant voice of a woman exclaiming the good news on that first Easter morning: “I have seen the Lord!” The disciples were skeptical of Mary Magdalene’s news. They needed to see this startling truth with their eyes. They weren’t ready to see with their hearts. I’m ready, though. Are you?

Donna Frischknecht Jackson is editor of Presbyterians Today. Share your “seeing with the heart” stories at

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