Scripture: John 9:1-41 (NRSV)
Last night, an hour or so before the sun went down, I went for a walk in the woods across the red bridge on the Mill Race canal.
I hadn’t planned to venture outdoors due to the few inches of March snow that had recently covered the ground. Resentful of the cold temperatures and absence of fresh spring air and new buds, I had been avoiding nature like a sworn enemy.
But I sat in my room with books and notepads and digital devices spread over my lap and strewn around my feet on the floor. Even though books are usually life-giving for me, I felt drained and fearful and empty because all these materials were supposed to be helping me get a job, find a life and develop a plan for post-graduation. Desperately, I was striving to see my own way through life by planning every detail in advance.
It’s so tempting to try to control, to try to grasp the life-binoculars and stand on our tip-toes to see over everyone else, straining our eyes and ourselves to see our own way through life.
After a few hours of searching, I looked up from my Google searches. It was 7:08 p.m. and there was cascading gold light reflecting through my curtains and onto my pillows, books and skin. Seven o’clock, and the sun is still out? Even with snow on the ground, I decided to venture outside to experience the spring sunset.
As I walked in the hush of sun-spotted woods, the silence told me to put my life-binoculars down; to be still and stop trying to see and control and know all the colors and shapes and experiences of my future. Real life, I suddenly realized, was going on all around me. The honking ducks paddling along, the crunch of my stumbling feet on the crystalized snow, the bright orange sun reflecting on a rushing, dark spring creek. I put down those life-binoculars and, behold, I wasn’t only seeing life, I was experiencing it.
Those who claim to see are blind.
Those who are born blind will see most clearly.
Jesus smeared mud on a blind man’s eyes and gave him sight so that the works of God would finally be noticed. All of us who claim to see, let’s close our eyes for a second. And when we open them up again, let’s breathe in, quiet ourselves and refuse to see through eyes of worry and fear. Let’s look at the beauty that’s near us and allow God’s quiet and whispering light to guide us into what true sight is.
Scripture: John 9:1-41 (NRSV)
As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? 3Jesus answered, Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that Gods works might be revealed in him. 4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 6When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the mans eyes, 7saying to him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.
8The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, Is this not the man who used to sit and beg? 9Some were saying, It is he. Others were saying, No, but it is someone like him. He kept saying, I am the man. 10But they kept asking him, Then how were your eyes opened? 11He answered, The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, Go to Siloam and wash. Then I went and washed and received my sight. 12They said to him, Where is he? He said, I do not know.
13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see. 16Some of the Pharisees said, This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath. But others said, How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs? And they were divided. 17So they said again to the blind man, What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened. He said, He is a prophet. 18The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19and asked them, Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see? 20His parents answered, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself. 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23Therefore his parents said, He is of age; ask him. 24So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner. 25He answered, I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see. 26They said to him, What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes? 27He answered them, I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples? 28Then they reviled him, saying, You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from. 30The man answered, Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing. 34They answered him, You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us? And they drove him out.
35Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, Do you believe in the Son of Man? 36He answered, And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him. 37Jesus said to him, You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he. 38He said, Lord, I believe. And he worshiped him.
39Jesus said, I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind. 40Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, Surely we are not blind, are we? 41Jesus said to them, If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, We see, your sin remains.