It is Sunday, although it doesn’t feel like a Sunday, I fear all the days are rolling into one. So to prevent this and to mark Sunday’s I have decided to take one of the readings from the Sunday lectionary and write some of my thoughts down about the reading. I am hoping to start Reader training next year so hopefully this will be good practice. I must admit it feels very strange not to be playing the organ for a church service this Sunday. I hope everyone remains safe and well in these scary times.
The reading I have chosen is John 9: 1-41 the reading is here.
My first thought about this reading is that Jesus notices the people in the background. The blind man has been a beggar for most of his life as he cannot work due to his condition, people know he is there but over time have ceased to see him and he has faded into the background. However, Jesus has noticed him and because Jesus has noticed him so have his disciples. The disciples’ first reaction on seeing the blind man is entirely human, they want to know who has sinned to make this man blind, the man or his parents? The human response of “how did this happen so I can prevent it happening to myself” is something we all do. This question however poses a problem because if it was the man he would have had to commit the crime in the womb and Jesus states that the man’s parents did not cause their son’s blindness by their sin but instead the man’s blindness provides a situation for Jesus to show God’s healing power. A power that we can all display by helping those we see in need and not ignoring the people who have faded into the background.
Jesus says that this man’s blindness is not caused by sin which shows the disciples and ourselves not to judge other people’s sins too quickly as we could be false and causing suffering to others. However, sin can and does cause suffering and as I have certainly experienced when I have sinned it has caused suffering to others and not just myself.
Another thing I noticed when reading this passage is that there is a clear distinction between good and evil. Good is where there is light and evil is where there is darkness. Jesus says “I am the light in the world.” Following in Jesus’ footsteps we continue to keep that light going in the world and not letting darkness take over.
Jesus gives this man the gift of sight, something he has never had. This man is now changed forever, he can see, he is no longer crouching along fumbling his way through life having to beg for money. He is full of life and excitement of what has happened to him and wants to tell everyone but as per usual somebody is usually there to put a dampener on that feeling and in this reading it is the Pharisees. The Pharisees are not happy that Jesus has performed a miracle on the sabbath and say that Jesus is not from God but others are confused because how can somebody not from God perform a miracle.
When the Pharisees question the blind man’s parents they acknowledge he was born blind but refuse to say how he gained his sight and left it to their son to answer because they were afraid of the consequences. I find this true in all of us sometimes, I know that sometimes we know we should say something about a situation but we fear the consequences and hope somebody else will say it instead. We don’t want to be ostracised or made fun of so we keep quiet.
Now the Pharisees are furious with what the man has told them and they throw him out. This poor man has gone from being blind all his life, to getting the gift of sight and wanting to shout it from the rooftops to being thrown out of his community. Everyone would have shunned him because the Pharisees were displeased with him, even his own parents have not stood up for him. But Jesus returns, he finds the man and opens the man’s spiritual eyes as well and the man worships Jesus and the full healing is complete. Jesus did not just heal the man physically but healed his faith as well, he gave this man a purpose and belief. After a lifetime of begging and darkness he now sees the light and begins his journey in the light of God.
The Pharisees are not blind in this because they refuse to see, they refuse to see and acknowledge Jesus as the son of God. If they were blind then they would not be sinning but because they see they sin because they choose to ignore. This is something I sadly relate to, don’t we all see the world suffering, see people suffering and choose to ignore it or pick and choose what we decide to help with.
After reading and pondering this reading I have decided to do more and not ignore so much in the world. I will think more about the climate and the effects my actions have on the world but I will also think and act more on how I can help people. I hope you have enjoyed my little reflection this Sunday. Thank you.