Thursday, October 22, 2009

XXI Pentecost


The man born blind:
The question this raises for me is "what do I have to cast off to be able to see?" How are things I have accumulated, the cultural baggage of my life, blinding me to seeing life? A priest who is blind says that this passage speaks to him - not because it offers him sight as sighted people would have it but because it leads him to "insight." His physical blindness allows him to hear the hearts of those who come to him with out being blinded by their appearance, clothing or attitude.

Earlier in Mark, we hear the story of the rich young man who does everything right but cannot follow Jesus because he can not rid himself of his possessions. It is hard work to let go of things - as I know from getting ready to move into a house 1/3 the size of our current home. It is even harder to get rid of years of cultural learnings about who is worthy of my attention, who can come to the table, who is a child of God - not as the world sees but as God sees. As the old musical South Pacific says "we have to be carefully taught" and we are.

I once took an anti-racism course where the teacher talked about the arrows that life throws at us about our worthiness - not measuring up - our minds, bodies and souls under attack - and we build up layers of self protection to make it through our days. The result is that each of us responds from under layers and layers of armor. We can't be open to one another as we hide from the risk of wounding.

Jesus invites us to take off our cloaks of protection and follow him - the one who is willing to be wounded for anyone and all. The blind man leaps at the chance - he knows the circumscribed life is no life. He flings off all that he has for the chance at LIFE.


Grandmère Mimi said...

I like what the blind priest says about "insight" that allows him to "hear the hearts" of those to whom he speaks.

Oh dear! A house 1/3 the size. It's not so much letting go of the possessions as deciding which ones to let go of and the work involved in sorting it all out.

I'd have to think about the cultural learnings and the armor. Good things to think about, though.

Do you type out the whole text of the sermon when you preach, or do you work from notes?

Joe said...

Yes, Bartimaeus cast off the comments that implied he was unworthy, but he personifies all of us who are unworthy in the presence of Jesus, who does not ask what did you do for me today, but what do you want me to do for you. It's not a quid pro quo with the Lord.

Ann said...

I just realized that I had comment moderation on and found all these lovely notes from the past year. Wow. Mimi - I usually preach from a note or 2 that tell me where I want to end up -- the point of the sermon.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Ann, I was shocked when a number of my old comments and those of others popped up in my email - voices from the past.