Fourth Sunday of Lent


If we leave here tonight with anything on our hearts and our minds I hope one thing might be this: Be very careful about the certitude that can come from our understandings of the journey of faith, because those understandings may be the things that are standing in our way of encountering God with new eyes. Please allow me to repeat that: Be very careful about the certitude that can come from our understandings of the journey of faith, because those understandings may be the things that are standing in our way of encountering God with new eyes. I am going to invite you to something which we often miss: the blind man in this story never asked Jesus to do anything! The blind man never asked Jesus to heal him

The blind man never asked Jesus to cure his blindness Jesus just did it….. Why?  Because I think as Jesus said…there is a greater lesson to be learned from this story….

The disciples they were encountering this new way of looking at and seeing the world.  They had become followers of Christ and he was not doing or saying things in the way that they had come to understand. They were floundering a bit….struggling yet excited at the new way of seeing God at work in the world. They wanted to make sense of things from this new perspective….and all they had to operate from is what they had been taught and had come to believe….They understood physical ailment/poverty/alienation as a sign of some systemic manifestation of sin, probably of someone before them….Jesus throws the old notion of how God acts in this world on its ear! There have been recorded many instances with our current advancements in modern medicine where persons who were born blind have had their sight restored.  Even several movies made about these experiences. In every experience, it has been recorded that when the person’s sight has been restored, their first initial reaction was one of pain, disorientation, discombobulation and disbelief. They  have often reported that it literally, physically, hurt to see, dark sun glasses were needed and dark rooms with only gradual introductions of minimal light…..years of adjustment. What the blind one has developed as the image of people and places in their minds eye is often in-congruent with what their physical eyes and the ensuing messages are being sent to their brain. Which makes me wonder if maybe this Gospel story isn’t a metaphor of our lives? I wonder how many times in our lives God has worked and continues to work without us asking? I wonder how many times God has brought us to a place of new insight, and like the patient who just received their sight, we winch at the pain because it doesn’t match or meet what we had so firmly come to understand. It is not easy to be in that place of discontent and disorientation. It can be painful to look with new eyes at something that we previously thought we were so certain. But the journey of faith has a way of bringing us to a place of which we never thought we would be. And when that happens, it can be very hard to see and to understand.

To embrace and accept the ambiguity of life is not an easy task—it takes time, patience and gentleness.

Every birth in our lives, be it our own or a child or sibling or niece or nephew, grandson or granddaughter …they force us to new insights. Every death does a well.  Nothing ever remains the same.  Elements of the past remain but only elements. Every new situation in life can cause us to go wash in the pools of siloam.

Every job change, every significant challenge, be-it health or any crisis of any kind,every new situation sends us forth into the world in new ways.

And we have to claw and scrape, and cry, and curse, and struggle to refine and redefine who we are and how we understand ourselves and our God and our world. So the question may be for us….where are we in our respective journeys? I leave you with one thought from a dear friend of mine who said to me:

Do not fear the shadows of your life, it simply means that the light is very close by.