Wednesday, March 02, 2005

4 Lent Readings
Here is one of my favorite reflections on the Man Born Blind - the gospel for this week found in John 9.

It is from Stories of Faith by John Shea.
Another time
Jesus smeared God like mud
on the eyes of a man born blind
and pushed him toward the pool of Siloam.
The blind man splashed his eyes
and stared into the rippling reflection
of the face he had only felt.
First he did a handstand, then a cartwheel,
and rounded off his joy
with a series of summersaults.
He ran to his neighbors,
singing the news.
They said,
"You look like the blind beggar
but we cannot be sure."
The problem was never
that he was blind
and could not look out
but that they could see
and did not look in.
"I am the one, the seeing blind!"
They seized him in mid cartwheel
and dragged him to the authorities.
"What do you think of the man who made the mud?"
But the man born blind
was staring at a green vase.
His mouth was open slightly
as if he was being fed by its color.
"He is a sinner," said the priest.
who knew what pleased God's eyes.
"Can one who lights candles in the eyes of night not have the fire of God in his hands?" said the man fondling the green vase.
The priests murmurred
and sent for his parents
who looked their son
straight in his new eyes
and said,
"Looks like our son.
But he is old enough
to speak for himself."
Off the hook they hurried home.
"All I know," said the man
with the green vase tucked under his robe,
"is that I was blind
and now I see."
But with his new eyes
came a turbulence in his soul
as if the man who had calmed one sea
turned another to storm.
So before those who locked knowledge in a small room
and kept the key on a string around their neck
he launched into a theology of sin and salvation.
It was then
that the full horror of the miracle
visited the priests.
"You, steeped in sin, lecture us!"
They tore him from the podium
and threw him into the street
where a man was rubbing mud from his hands.
"How did it go?"
"I talked back."
The man with new eyes
took in every laughing line
on the face of the Son
who was as happy as a free man
dancing on the far side of the Red Sea.
I am not preaching this week but thought I would share this version of Psalm 23 from Nathan Nettleton of Laughing Bird

You, LORD, are my guide in the wilderness;
there is nothing more I could need.

You set up camp in places of beauty and shelter;
you lead the way on secluded tracks
beside creeks of cool clean water.
I feel my spirit breathing freely again;
your reputation puts me at ease;
I leave the navigating to you, and follow.

Even if we hike through a perilous valley,
where crows keep a menacing watch,
fear will still not get the better of me.
As long as I stick with you
I know I’ll make the distance;
with a knife and a bit of rope
you seem able to tackle any challenge.

You cook up a feast for me,
as those who wanted to feed on me watch, frustrated.
You pamper me like an honoured guest
and constantly top up my glass.

My life feels charmed, each and every day.
Love, mercy and all good things
keep falling into my lap.

I’m with you for life, LORD,
where you go, I’ll go;
where you live, I’ll live.