Jesus knew as he began his ministry, what his work is about, and Who it is that would empower him:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to
bring good news to the poor
proclaim release to the captives
bring recovery of sight to the blind
and let the oppressed go free.” (Luke 4:18)
The lectionary readings this week lead us into the painful and obscure territory of blindness. Rather than taking us into the confines of a classroom discussion in order to work out our theology of physical blindness or religious and spiritual blindness, we are led instead into the flesh and blood reality of a blind beggar’s story in John’s gospel.
As you read and enter into the narrative, pay attention who the persons are in this story, listen to what they are saying, and get in touch with the movements and tensions, the hospitality and the rejection going on around you.
We could leave the story after our visit, and move on with our lives. But the season of Lent bids us stay and wait. Jesus calls us to become aware of the tensions and rejections we encounter within our own soul and life, because we are blind, spiritually blind. Spiritual blindness traps us on the outside, holds us captive to legal and traditional questions, hand-cuffs us to critical analysis, and ensures that we do not see as Jesus sees. We are blind to the clear-sightedness of the gracious rule of God, the way of Jesus. Lent is the season to become aware of our captivity and blindness.
Entering into the story is an invitation to freedom, but this freedom demands that we allow ourselves to be healed from our blindness. Here we allow Jesus to spread mud on the eyes of our soul – and we agree to be washed clean in the pool of his choosing.
The journey to clear-sightedness is humbling, messy, and requires listening to Jesus’ directions, directions which guide us beyond the stony limits of our human rules and narrow expectations.
If we experience loneliness we discover we are in good company – for Jesus seeks us out, and we discover we stand with the man who was born blind. It is here we learn anew who Jesus is, and what it costs to be his follower.
Seeing with the eyes of the soul can be painful – for we awaken to how restricted and blind we tend to be in this world on this side of Eden. But Jesus comes again and again – even to us in our need – and offers us healing and companioning.
Prayer before reading:
Lord Jesus Christ,
You come to us.
Help me to see as you see,
To recognize your presence,
And your call
To follow you.
Guide me, us as I learn to walk in your way.
Read slowly. Listen deeply. Indwell the scripture.
Season of Lent: Week Four
3/28 Monday: John 9:1-11
3/29 Tuesday: John 9:12-41
3/30 Wednesday: Psalm 23
3/31 Thursday: I Samuel 16:1-13
4/1 Friday: Ephesians 5:8-14
4/1 Saturday: John 9:1-11
4/3 Sunday: John 9:12-41