Selby Abbey: Leper Squint

At Selby Abbey, in Yorkshire’s East Riding, is a leper squint. This was a hole carved into the church’s thick, outer wall which allowed an eye to behold the altar. Lepers were excluded from churches; ordinary folk feared to catch the dreaded disease. The squint allowed a leper outside the building to gaze upon that holy spot. Leprosy is a great metaphor for sin- it harms, it mutilates, it excludes and it destroys. In Matthew 8, a leper approaches Jesus 

And behold, a leper came and worshipped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

The gospel does not tell sinners to stay outside and squint at God’s grace from afar; it beckons us in, presenting us to the very throne of God, covering our sin and healing our wounds. The only squinting that will take place in heaven will be our eyes beholding the overwhelming glory of the Son.