Read John 9.1-17

                As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.

                The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

                They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided.

                So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.”

 

From Rev. Scott Thayer, Bethany Memorial Church (Disciples of Christ), Bethany,

and Chaplain, Bethany College

One of my favorite movies is “Little Big Man.” It’s a story of a person who tries to occupy two different worlds: the world of the Native American and the world of the white man. In one powerful scene, the grandfather figure offers to the Great Spirit what he thinks (and hopes) will be his last prayer. Standing on a tall mountain, he lifts his sightless eyes to the sky and exclaims, “Thank you for my eyesight, and thank you for the blindness by which I saw further.” This prompted me to wonder whether the blind man who was healed by Jesus was really better off as a sighted person. Now, after the healing, he has to see the religious authorities whose spiritual blindness made his former sightlessness look almost preferable. He is forced to see the dark underbelly of religion, with all its turf battles, jealousies and self-righteousness. I celebrate the healing power of Jesus toward this man, but I wonder if as a blind person he did not see further than as a sighted one.

 

“I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies, no sudden rending of the veil of clay,

no angel visitant, no opening skies, but take the dimness of my soul away.”

(George Croley)

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