Blindness and Sight, Darkness and Light

Fourth Sunday in Lent
OT: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Psalm: Psalm 23
NT: Ephesians 5:8-14
Gospel: John 9:1-41


Some are blind because their own eyes are darkened, while others cannot see because of the darkness all around them.

How many of us live in a world of light with comfort and ease and church services and devotion at every corner, yet have eyes that are darkened amidst all the apparent light around? We live with no compassion. We live with no creative vision. Sure, we can see. Sure, we even know the gospel and can recall book-chapter-verse for whatever theological quandary may be in question. But we are blind nonetheless. We are the Pharisees in this story who thing we can see. It would do us well to ask the question they ask but with less presumption. “Surely we are not blind, are we?” The truth is that the moment we presume to have sight we have admitted to our blindness. The man without mystery and doubt is the man without beauty and faith. We are blind because of the darkness in our own eyes.

How many are there who live with pure hearts yet do not see God because of the darkness of their circumstances in which there is no apparent hope? I think of all the tragedies that this world is so well acquainted with. The loved ones who disappeared on Malaysian Airlines 370; the homes and lives lost from the Washington mudslide in Snohomish county; the hundreds of homes that burned from the fires in Chile; the stabbing at a Pennsylvania high school; the terror attack on the Jewish Community Center leaving three dead. These are only from the past month. Darkness is abundant. Hope is a dim or flickering light at best. Yet so many are simply living honest to God lives when tragedy strikes. This is the man in the story. Birth struck him blind yet he did no wrong.

“Awake O sleeper! Arise from the dead! Christ will shine on you!” This is Paul’s plea for us as we are lulled to sleep from our dull vision. We are not meant to sleep safely in the secure rooms of devotion. We are to be lights in the darkness offering hope to the hopeless. Paul gives this command, “Walk as children of light,” but only after praying the prayer, “may the eyes of your hearts be enlightened so you might have hope.” We cannot offer hope until we have found it. We cannot shine as light until we have seen.

A simple and two-fold prayer: May light shine on us so that we may shine in the dark. A similar two-fold challenge: Be refreshed by God so that you can go be a refreshment to others.

Discerner of hearts,
you look beneath our outward appearance
and see your image in each of us.
Banish in us the blindness
that prevents us from recognizing truth,
so we may see the world through your eyes
and with the compassion of Jesus Christ who redeems us. Amen.

***This blog was retrospectively written on 4/17/2014.*** 

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