Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 116; 147:12-20, Job 16:16-22, 17:1, 17:13-16, Acts 13:1-12, John 9:1-17
Every summer we take our nephews camping. The campground’s many roads loop back on one another, so there are multiple ways to get places. One afternoon the younger nephew insisted we were taking the long way back to camp and kept trying to pull me down another road. I pointed toward our site: “Look, Jack, our tent is right there.” He said: “I don’t see it.” We did this twice more until I looked down and saw he’d shut his eyes tight.
Sight and blindness are important metaphors in the Bible. In today’s passage from John, we encounter a blind man who prompts Jesus to break Mosaic law and perform a healing on the Sabbath – a reminder that faith binds us to mercy, not legalism. In Acts, Saul and Barnabas meet Bar-Jesus, a Jewish magician and false prophet in the city of Paphos. Saul condemns Bar-Jesus for “making crooked the straight paths of the Lord” and the Spirit strikes the magician temporarily blind. His refusal to see the truth – and his attempt to lead others down the wrong road – put him in a debilitated state. If this seems harsh, remember Saul himself was struck blind by the Spirit before he accepted Christ, so what seems like a curse may have been a cure.
We’re all blind to something, especially our own shortcomings. Like the disciples asking whose sin caused the man’s blindness – his own or his parents – we want to point fingers. Certainly neither the man nor his parents were without sin (who is?) but Jesus focused on how God could transform the present situation. Jesus used spit and dirt to begin the healing process, but the man had to walk himself to a pool to wash the mud off. When we want to make ourselves whole, we need to have faith God does not limit us to the darkness of the past, but guides us to a brighter future. We may have to get our hands dirty with therapy, soul-searching, and hard decisions, but as the old hymn promises, the lost will be found and the blind will see.
(for another take on today’s reading from John, see Spit, Mud, and Healing)
Comfort: God is waiting to make you whole.
Challenge: You’re going to have to do some of the work.
Prayer: God of healing, granter of mercies, I seek the wholeness you offer. Amen.
Discussion: The title of today’s post is from Jonathan Swift’s Polite Conversation. What are some things you’ve tried not to see?
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