“Turn your eyes upon … Francis”

There’s an old hymn written by Helen Lemmel in 1992. I used to sing it with a beloved congregation in Carter County, Tennessee. I’ve adapted the refrain:

Turn your eyes upon Francis,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

I’m reading a book on Francis of Rome by Leonardo Boff. Do you know that Francis consciously chose to be referred to officially as Francis, Bishop of Rome? That’s one heck of a way to start out the ministry of being the Pope! “Call me Francis; but don’t call me The Pope.” Which says to me that he takes seriously that something important has shifted in him, and that God is the Shifter. And it also says to me, “I’m not God; let’s make sure we keep that straight.”

I’m biased, but there’s something, something in all of that, deeper than humility. Something that I can’t quite name, and something I want to know very much for myself. There’s something godly about it.

Picture the image of Francis, Bishop of Rome, washing the feet of Muslims; and imagine now that the image is you.


2 thoughts on ““Turn your eyes upon … Francis”

  1. I’m with you, to give up the title of Pope sends a message that is beyond humility. I see that as surrender and submission. It shows a desire to be known and opens a way for others to know him. The title sets up barriers, as in my opinion titles often do. I believe that is why God introduces Himself as “I Am”. God invites relationship.
    As for the image of Francis washing the feet of Muslim people. I believe that act shows and displays submission. Here is how submission is defined, the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person. I know that this concept is a difficult one for us. However I’m also confident that it is very hard to find compassion without it. Submission, is why that image is so powerful. However that picture can also make us very uncomfortable if we insist in our superiority.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, for Francis to wash the feet of Muslims, either he would have to travel through the wall, surrounding the Vatican, or the Muslims would have to make the same journey, inward; so, there’s that…

    Having both having my feet washed, and washed the feet of others, I can tell you, it’s truly a humbling experience. Jesus didn’t qualify the person, before He washed their feet, and neither should we. Doing so, for political reasons, would belittle us both, and God the Shifter would be more than aware of the hypocrisy, at hand. After all: if you’re going to make it a point to wash the feet of someone, why not do it on the “street corner”, for all to see?


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