None so blind….033014 John 9The following are simply notes to use, depending on what comes up, from congregational conversation in small groups, using the notes to flesh out the thought…..this followed their hearing the text in many voices, and some of congregation wore blindfolds, as the blind man, some as the leaders.
“There’s none so blind as those who will not see” - who’s blind, what’s my blindness? Margie is legally blind and often has to point out how blind I am to the unique needs of being, for example, a non-driver, dependent on others, always having to ask for help….
The leaders in this story, the Pharisees and the Jewish elite, are meant to be visionaries, yet Jesus says, they’re the blind ones…all those fine upstanding church going, hymnsinging Christians who can’t see beyond the end of their noses….they never get their hands dirty like Jesus did…..but some do. Some go to Reach and touch filthy homes and needy people…..some go to the shelters and pray with people they used to condemn…the victims we’re used to blaming.
Jesus dispenses reckless mercy, and we don’t like it. I had to pull myself up by my bootstraps, why can’t they? We still blame the victim today. Henri Nouwen quote: as long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain full of judgments, opinions, evaluations and condemnations. We will remain addicted to putting people and things in their ‘right’ place.
The Pharisees say, you’re not saying we’re blind are you? We’re all blind in some way….physically we don’t see what’s right in front of us…..pass someone who looks lost without stopping to help, pass quickly by the panhandler without noticing anything about him,
Mentally we don’t ‘see’ what all the fuss is about gender equality or sexuality issues, we don’t get why we have to change the order of worship or have new songs introduced
Emotionally we’re blind to the needs of our closest relationships, we don’t pay attention so we fail to notice when someone has withdrawn, or is depressed, or is in pain
Spiritually we don’t see Jesus who comes looking for us, stands knocking at the door of our soul to offer us Jesus-eyes.
Did you notice all the questions in the story? Why was he born blind? Isn’t this the beggar? What did he do? where is he? why do you need convincing? Who is he? Do you believe?
Human need, Jesus says, is an opportunity to show God’s mercy. When we see need, is that what we see? Or does tradition and social privilege blind us? (blame victim above)
It was Sabbath. Deed before creed; compassion over rules
Here we have another encounter with Jesus….another teaching moment….another opportunity to go deeper in understanding self and God….another chance to have our eyes and hearts opened. All the characters except the healed man are no different at the end of the story than they were at the beginning. These kinds of moments are offered every week here at church and in everyday encounters as well---I can’t help but wonder if we leave those encounters as blind as when we came in.
I am hoping that we might hear past the outward appearance and surface questions to the truths deep in the heart of things.
End: Jesus isn’t really the main character here. We are. Whatever character you took on, Jesus engages us. Did you hear that little phrase, when Jesus found him? When he heard this guy had been thrown out of the best religious places, he evidently went looking for him. What grace. Think about that this week….do you need to be found? Or does God call you to go looking…..open our eyes, Lord. Amen.