This miracle brings to mind a different miracle
One from the Disney line of stories
An image of a desolate Cinderella
Weeping outside with her head on a bench.
– feels like there is no hope
Her sisters ripped apart the dress made by mice
For her to have something to wear to the ball
Here she is crying her eyes out
And arrives her Fairy Godmother
To bring her comfort and give her some help along the way
“We’ll have to hurry because… Even miracles take time…”
That seems to be the case here with Jesus
Though there's no bippity boppity boo
There is not an immediate healing
First, he makes mud out of his own spit and dirt!
I’m not gonna lie
that part makes me want to throw up a little…
Then he tells him to go wash in the pool of Siloam
He is still blind by the way…
He has to make it to the pool and then
wash in the pool and then he is miraculously cured
Yet no one seems to believe that he is the blind man!
Yet the people didn’t even believe
what their eyes were telling them!
They were really basing everything on their ASSUMPTIONS
They saw a “blind-man”
not a man who happened to be blind
They are revealed as being blind, spiritually in darkness
It definitely does not feel good to be judged on appearances
Happened to me one time
as I was visiting a kinda high-profile lawyer
If you know me you probably know
I don’t tend to dress up on a daily basis.
Usually some pants and a button-up shirt,
often with short sleeves (gasp, the horror!).
He looked me up and down
with a look on his face that said
he was quite a bit condescending of my attire.
Reminds me of
Story of the anointing of David in 1 Samuel:
All the brothers went first but none were chosen by God
Then last of all the youngest, is chosen by God
The reason is:
“…for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
The one who had “been born into sin”
for the act of being born blind
Is the one who becomes the teacher of the Rabbis
By appearances they should have been the ones to recognize God’s work in Jesus
But the one to receive the miracle,
Was the one who by all appearances
was the most sinful of all
But as we learned at the beginning
It was not because of his blindness really
The miracle was simply to give glory to God
To teach about who God is and what God wants from us
In reality the ones who are the sinners
are not those who suffer misfortune
But those who judge them for it
When we say that we have it all figured out
When we say who is in, and who is out
When we say that we never have doubts
Then we are blind
But when we admit our blindness
Then we can be made to see
Appearances can actually tell us some things
But more often than not we are confused
We have learned so much about the workings of the world
But we still can’t explain so much
We become arrogant in what we know
In our learning and education
We can make that same mistake
that the legalists have done throughout the centuries
And inherently reject something
that does not fit our preconceived notions
And legalistic cultural rules
Or we can us the law of love
In our interactions with new ideas, with new people,
different ideas and people
Look upon the heart
similar to the transformation of Cinderella
There is a purpose to this miracle
it was for people to finally see who she really was
And I think we might say something similar
for the man born blind…
Had anyone ever paid attention to him before?
Yet here they were, everyone asking him questions,
Everyone astonished over what had happened to him
Brought to the center of attention
but they don’t know really what to do with him
His very presence there is an affront to their assumptions
And so, he is simply done away with
Sent out of the synagogue so as not to bother the leaders
And the rest of the people
He is healed and made whole,
Then rejected by the people because of that
Yet Jesus is right there
Welcoming him back into community
Not just any
But a new way of being community
I saw it just the other day at the grocery store
Woman in line saw someone else with toilet paper
Asked very nicely where she got it
Went to check while waiting for her turn
And the other lady just gave her some of the toilet paper!
A little coronavirus miracle in the midst of my week!
A little bit of Mercy and compassion
and generosity mixed together!
Lack of MERCY in the religious legal system of Jesus’ day
Pretty much every time period struggles with this!
They had their lineage from Moses
We have our own traditions passed down
We happened to be born in the United States
and have all that tradition (plus Lutheranism)
None of this can bring us comfort and peace however
In the valley of the shadow of death
Only God with us - The center of all that we are,
all that we could be
We all have a part in sharing this community based on love
There was an email sent out – ideas from Christian Bakken
Options for letter writing and making phone calls
To stay connected to one another!
There is something for everyone to do in these days
With Christ as our example
our light in the darkness
That same Spirit that filled his lungs lives in us
Showing us how Christ can be a light to our paths
Let us pray that Christ be our light today
And help us to step forward boldly in action for the world.
Further notes not included directly in message:
How are our values as Christians supposed to be different from societal values in general?
As children of the light, how do we act in that light, to become that light?
“Jews were not meant to see miracles as proof for or evidence of God.
Rather, miracles happen for a purpose. They heal. They glorify. They teach.
They also change perspective.” - Rabbi Evan Moffic
"The Jewishness of Jesus"
Miracles of everyday life
Miracles of once in a lifetime or rare
Miracles should not be the basis of our faith
The Pharisees in the story were told what had happened
But they still couldn’t have faith
The Hebraites in the Old Testament experienced miracles
To escape Egypt and more
And still doubted God and lacked faith
Miracles cannot be the basis of our faith
Miracles stem from a “leap of action” Abraham Heschel
What does it mean to expose evil today?
How can we be on the side of healing and wholeness?