Saturday, April 02, 2011

Lent 4


Readings are here.

Notes for a sermon- redux.

Seeing is believing – true or not?

In our gospel – much is revealed to the disciples and the people around Jesus – God’s truth is shocking to them. What they see Jesus doing is hard to believe. Many in those days and still today believe in a cause and effect between bad things happening to people. Sometimes it is true – if you do certain things bad results will happen – but mostly things just happen. Jesus says the man was born blind not because his parents or he were sinners but whether or not is is of God shows in how it is perceived. Is God revealed through whatever happens. People saw Jesus ignoring the rules of their faith. Kneading the mud – was work – which was forbidden on the Sabbath. How could Jesus be a man of God if he did not even keep the rules that they believed God had laid down for them?

Many in our story do not believe this is even the same man – they had always seen him as “that blind man” – probably never really looking at him as they tossed a coin or two into his begging bowl. They really do not believe that he has anything to say about the nature of God. He is probably was dressed in poor clothes and had not been educated – so how could he know anything about God’s ways? They could not believe that his experience was even true. They were the “good church people” – they knew it all – they were the ones who were blessed by God – he could not be blessed as a blind person and a beggar.

Jesus confronts this way of seeing or really not seeing in this story - he sees the man as beloved of God, he sees the laws of faith as of God when they uphold this vision of beloved. He sees with God’s heart. He teaches how to see the kindom of God in their midst. Sin for Jesus is being unable to see one another as brothers and sisters, for only being able to see who is “in” and who is “out,” anything that separates us from one another, the creation and God.

Samuel is sure that the king will be the eldest or the strongest and so has his doubts when God says no – keep looking. When David appears – he is the youngest and somewhat more beautiful than the standard appearance of the other brothers – perhaps assumed to be more frail?

In the psalm – the author sees God’s presence even in dire circumstances – though he is walking in the valley of the shadow of death – in terrifying times – he sees goodness and mercy.

Ephesians emphasizes this choosing to live in the light of Christ – in truth – seeing with God’s eyes and not just our own. It tells us we can make choices to see or not see. Following Christ, worship, prayer and study can give us new eyes – can you think of something you believed in the past that has been changed by your faith?

Jesus confronts all our “not seeing” – how we are shaped by the rules we choose to live by, how other people’s perceptions affect our seeing. How familiarity often results in dulling the senses to the miracles of life around us. Jesus often recommends that we become like little children to see the realm of God. Walking with a 2 year old often is less about destination and more about delight and curiosity in the moment. Our gospel calls to us to see others with God’s eyes- how are they beheld in that loving gaze? How are we seen in that loving gaze?

In the book, The Little Prince, he has a rose that he believes is unique in all the universe. He happends upon a garden where there are many roses just exactly like his rose. He is sad to find out that his rose is just a common rose. He meets a fox who shows him how to see – the fox tells him his rose is unique in all the universe because of the relationship. The rose is not like all the others because of the time spent together and the care he has shown for the rose. It is not something that can be seen with the eyes – it is as the fox says: One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.

Jesus confronts all our “not seeing” – how we are shaped by the rules we choose to live by, how other people’s perceptions affect our seeing. How familiarity often results in dulling the senses to the miracles of life around us. Jesus often recommends that we become like little children to see the realm of God. Walking with a 2 year old often is less about destination and more about delight and curiosity in the moment. Our gospel calls to us to see others with God’s eyes- how are they beheld in that loving gaze? How are we seen in that loving gaze?


The Little Prince

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