Sunday, April 3, 2011

the man born blind

Jesus spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.

One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now
I see.

In the name of God, Father, source of all being, Son, eternal Word, and holy Spirit.

What would it be like to be blind from birth? What would it be like to know you would never know the world as others knew it?

What you knew was what you could touch and smell and taste, the feel of wind on your face or rain or sun, the smell of sweat or dung or sweet clover, the taste of - infamy. For many thought that the sins of his parents had been punished by his affliction.

Jesus would have none of it.

Jesus spit. Jesus spit in the dirt.

And he made mud. He made soil - clay - earth. Out of the dust he fashioned something new that had never been in the world.

As in Genesis when God formed a man out of the dust of the earth now something new was being created.

This man - this one - was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him.

God will be glorified in this: the action that Jesus takes now.

Jesus took the mud he had made from earth and spit and smeared it across the eyes of the man born blind. Hold still.

And he told him, now go - and wash in the pool of Siloam. So the man went and washed - and he came back, seeing.

He did not see Jesus.

He saw his neighbors - who could not believe their eyes. Is it him? Sure it is. No it cannot be.

So they called in the experts.

The Pharisees.

And these Pharisees were more concerned with keeping the sabbath than with the giving of sight to the blind.

Not restoring sight, mind - giving it for the first time.

But he made something - mud - on the Sabbath. That's work! He broke the Sabbath. A ha!

What do you say about him? You are the one he made to see.

He is a prophet of God.

Get his parents.

Yes, he is our son - but how it is he can now see we do not know.

They did not want to be ostracized - shunned - thrown out of the synagogue.

And so they stuck to what they knew - only what they knew - and did not stick their necks out. Not even for their own son.

Okay, come clean with us. How did this happen? They confronted the man.

Come clean now. Tell the truth. Give glory to God.

You know he's a sinner -

- I don't know that.

One thing I do know: that though I was blind, now I see.

What did he do? How did he do it?

He is getting a little tired of this. Why do you keep asking me these questions? Do you want to become his followers?

Now that was a little - cocky?

They dismiss him: you were born entirely in sin!

And they throw him out - out of the synagogue, out of the community.

At this point he has nothing left - nothing left of his old life. Neighbors, parents, community - all gone.

One person is left - if he knew where he was. But he has only heard his voice. He has never seen him.

Jesus seeks him out - and finds him.

Do you believe in the Son of Man?

Who is he? Tell me, that I may believe.

The one who is speaking to you now - the one you have seen already - he is the one.

Lord, I believe.

The man called Jesus, the prophet, a man sent from God, is now before him: and he knows who he is.

It is the Lord.

And he worshiped him.

His old life is gone.

His new life has begun.

Jesus explains what has happened. First he says that he has, through his actions and his being, brought judgment to the world.

Those who do not see may see; those who do see may become blind.

It certainly seems so; for the man born blind sees who Jesus is - and the experts miss it entirely. In fact they reject the truth.

And it is there before their eyes. It is Jesus.

Jesus goes on to explain:

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. They hear my voice and they follow me.

Come follow me.


What shall we do with this invitation? We have watched as one man, born blind, lived into full recognition of the one he was dealing with. At first only a voice and a healing touch - he heard it was 'the man called Jesus' - soon his own bearing witness bears fruit in continuing recognition and growth in understanding.

He is a prophet. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.

Who is the Son of Man that I may believe in him? Lord, I believe. And he worshiped him.

We have seen this progression - and the falling away of all earthly supports as the man turned and worshipped the one who had sought him out and given him sight, sought him out again, and given him - insight, salvation, life.

In him was light and life and love - from the foundation of the world to its fulfillment, this is the one who gives those things.

And he stood before him, and then worshiped him.

What are we to do?

How are we 'born blind'?

It is not an affliction to punish us for our sins or those of our parents - so don't beat yourself up - but it is an occasion for God to reveal his glory.

What is it that we are not seeing? Is there something we are sensing, or hearing about? Is there someone seeking us out?

How shall we be ready? And do we want it?

Open our eyes, that we may see - and seeing, believe;
and believing, worship - and worshiping, follow.

Give glory to God - tell the truth. Come clean. He is the savior of the world.

And he is the good shepherd. The one who calls out to us by name, who knows us - and we know him.

And he calls us forth -

- where are we to go, if not to follow him?

Who is going to feed us, if not him? Who protect us, if not him?

Who lead us to shelter? Who provide for all our needs?

But the Lord is our shepherd.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd *
therefore can I lack nothing.
He shall feed me in a green pasture *
and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.
He shall convert my soul *
and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness, for his Name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death , I will fear no evil *
for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.
Thou shalt prepare a table before me against them that trouble me *
thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my cup shall be full.
But thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life *
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

[Book of Common Prayer, 1662]


Lord, open our eyes to your presence,
open our ears to your call,
open our hearts to your love;
that we might give ourselves to you
and walk before you as children of light;
through him who is the Light of the World,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[David Adam, Clouds and Glory (SPCK, 2000) p. 51.]

Thy word is 'a fountain of most pure water springing up unto everlasting life.' (Myles Smith, preface, King James Bible)

Spring up in me, O Jesus; that I may know you by your word, and by your work in me reveal your glory to the world.



John Leech said...

Amazing Grace (Sacred Harp)

John Leech said...

May God who gives grace to us
give us grace to give others
may God who is merciful to us and kind
bring kindness and generosity into our lives
that we may share the abundant love
of Christ with those around us

May we, seeking to do your will,
find it in serving you; in seeking
you to serve you; & find you in the
face of others, friend and stranger

May we, serving you in
others, find ourselves at home; and
find our home in you.