Today’s readings (click below to open in new window/tab):
Psalms 20; 145, Joshua 3:14-4:7, Ephesians 5:1-20, John 9:1-12, 35-38
All four gospels tell the story of Jesus healing a blind man on the Sabbath. The mechanics of it are simple: he spits on the ground, makes mud, and rubs it on the man’s eyes. Afterward the man rinses the mud off and can see. Mud and spittle were a common enough medical treatment in the Greco-Roman world of the period, so it’s very likely someone had tried this remedy before, maybe more than once. What was so different about Jesus? We could say “He was the magic son of God!” and be satisfied with that answer, but the story reveals more.
Jesus started from a different perspective than the people around him: they believed the man was blind because he had sinned, but Jesus told them that was not true. Instead, he saw an opportunity to reveal God’s glory by helping someone who hadn’t even asked for help.
How much dirt and spit have we wasted by pre-judging a situation? How could a different perspective help transform the most common, mundane elements in our lives into opportunities to reveal God’s love to the world? Residents of Cateura, Paraguay are a fine example. Their survival depends on harvesting recyclables from an enormous trash dump just outside one of the poorest slums in South America. But in this, they have found beauty: they have crafted a world-renowned children’s orchestra of instruments made from discarded articles pulled from the dump.
A blind beggar turned into a prophet. Broken pipes turned into flutes. The people and things in our lives that seem broken or useless transformed by the power of the Spirit into … what? We may not restore someone’s sight, but we can help restore hope, peace of mind, or the simple comfort of a hot meal and a warm bed. What if we have dirt or spittle (metaphorically speaking) but not both? Then we have an opportunity to combine our resources with another person’s, and the invitation for the working of the Spirit is doubled (or tripled, or…). Looking with Christ’s eyes, we see brokenness as only the first step toward wholeness.
Comfort: No matter how broken we may be, God can put us back together.
Challenge: What relationships or situations in your life have you written off as too broken to fix? Ask a friend or mentor how you might change your perspective on the situation to better resolve it.
Prayer: Gracious God, teach me to see opportunities instead of problems. Amen.
Discussion: Have you ever witnessed or experienced healing where others had written off any such possibility?
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