I Was Blind And Now I See

John 9:1-41The Fourth Sunday of Lent – for Sunday, March 26, 2017

“As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who was blind from birth.” (John 9:1)

So many people are crammed into John’s detailed account of the “man blind from birth.”

Please, study the passage for yourself, but make sure to set aside enough time to read it all! And if the entirety of this story is read during worship, be prepared to forgive some in the congregation. Long before the conclusion, they will nod off, scan websites on their phone, or jot a shopping list on an offering envelope.

There is Jesus (our hero), and the disciples (with their incessant questions), the unsuspecting blind fellow (who was the object of the disciples’ first question), the grumbling, bumbling Pharisees, and the parents of the blind man. Am I missing anyone? Maybe bystanders that observed the events, frowning and smirking, pointing fingers or feigning disinterest. Oops, let’s not forget the blind fellow’s neighbors and why not toss in “Jewish leaders” who weren’t Pharisees (but were still eager to voice their opinions). Wasn’t there, if only in the shadowy background, a bored Roman soldier or two? I would even think a few merchants, inspired by the circus-like events, would’ve quickly organized a first-century version of T-shirts to hawk before the crowd dispersed. By the next day, perhaps many of the formerly blind lad’s neighbors sported shirts with, I was blind and now I see!

What other verses in the Gospels appear as 21st century as this scene? Just like now, there was the buzz of crowds, twitter-like questions and answers, an innocent rube becoming the center of attention, and (though the list could expand), the incessant debating and pontificating of the “experts.”

With my faith, I read. With my faith, I wonder. With my faith, I pay attention to the man who is the center of attention, but who also seemed cast aside in the frenzy. Continue reading →

Lent 4: God’s Bridled Love

Psalm 32*The Fourth Sunday of Lent – for Sunday, March 13, 2016

“Don’t be like some senseless horse or mule . . .” (Psalm 32:9)

horse.1Though a memory from over forty years ago can be faulty, I believe Josh’s reassurance about Susie was probably . . .

She’s a really old horse and treats everyone nice. You’ll be fine.

During a summer in college, I worked on my friend Josh’s family ranch. The property was located where California’s flat, fertile Central Valley met the foothills rising to Kings Canyon National Park. Awake before dawn, we were often still doing chores when the light of a long, hot day was fading.

We didn’t have much down time, but I recall bugging Josh about riding one of the ranch’s horses.

Old Susie was the safest.

Josh gave me quick instructions—which included controlling the mare with the bridle he’d easily looped over her head—and then he stepped back. I swung my legs up and onto the saddle. Continue reading →