3rd May 2017

The Reciprocal Gaze

“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

Too many years ago, I was a student nursery nurse attending child psychology classes where great emphasis was placed on what was known as the ‘formative years’, i.e. the first three years of life. Since those days, knowledge has increased greatly on child development and there has been a plethora of research on the impact of environmental effects on the unborn child proving that the foetus reacts to the mother’s mood.

I think the most interesting information is called the ‘reciprocal gaze.’ This is the strong bond formed from birth between the mother and child as they look into each other’s eyes. Eye contact between parent and child has been found to be vitally important in strengthening the bond. A feeling of trust, love and assurance is transmitted in a two-way process. June Kaminski explains the mutual benefit of this exchange, writing “It helps them to learn to stimulate the baby’s senses and meet their needs, and how to effectively talk to him or her. This helps the parent to spur their baby’s intellectual, social, emotional, language, and memory development.”[1]  Scientists have noted a chemical reaction in the brain of both mother and child.

We have an example of eye contact with impact, in the account of the healing of the lame man at the gate called Beautiful in Acts 3:4, “Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’” The verb looked is translated from the Greek ‘atenizo’, which means ‘to fix one’s eyes upon, look steadily, gaze intently.’ In Luke 4:20 we read of how transfixed everyone was while listening to Jesus Christ as He preached in the synagogue. They were looking at and listening to Jesus—the Word of God. Are we riveted by the words of Jesus?

A well-known benediction is found in Numbers 6:25-26, “The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” God’s gaze is constant and unfailing as is His love for us. In Psalm 139:1 (NLV) we read “O Lord, You have looked through me and have known me.” He asks us to reciprocate and look to Him in all our ways. If we do this, we will grow to become more like our heavenly parent. Let us keep a steady gaze toward our Father in heaven. He has a constant gaze on us – let us reciprocate and be blessed!

Loving Father, thank you for constantly seeing us, never leaving us, always being with us. Holy Spirit, help us to focus our eyes and hearts on you and not be diverted by the cares of this world.

Irene Wilson

[1] Parental – Infant Reciprocity – June Kaminski, MSN http://www.healingintent.com/article1027.html


About the Author:
Irene Wilson is a Deaconess in the Watford Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, where she also serves on the Pastoral Council.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
WD24 7HF

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11AM

Local Congregational Contact:
George Henderson
Phone: 01923-855570
Email: george-sue.henderson@tesco.net

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