2005—Fourth Sunday of Lent—A
I have a friend who does not have physical sight. She is one of the most insightful people I know. She has been my teacher and guide, leading me to see that I don't really see. Yes, I may see light but sometimes the light blinds. (Like yesterday when I was blinded by the sunlight, twice. I couldn't see because there was too much light) Sometimes, those of us who say we see, only see what we want to see. Sometimes those of us who have physical sight judge by appearances. We are so taken with the light from without that we do not see the light within.
What my friend has done for me, the Gospel writer John is doing for all of us in the story of the man born blind. He tells us that "what you see, is NOT what you get". The blindness of the man, The "adamah", is not a result of sin. And of course it is not about physical blindness at all. The man born blind is symbolic of our human condition. We need the continuing creation of God, spreading mud on our eyes and washing in the waters of the pool of Siloam to become a new creation. (Note for all of you who are preparing to be baptized: Siloam means "The one who is sent". That also refers to Jesus, who is the one who is sent). God's saving work, symbolically opening our eyes, but really opening our hearts happens through the One who is Sent, Jesus Christ.
I wish that all of you in this assembly could have been with those preparing for baptism, confirmation and Eucharist when we gathered for a day of reflection yesterday at Campion Center in Weston. Together we listened to the story of the man born blind and each person was able to see how his/her eyes have been opened to see the saving power of God calling them to relationship with Jesus Christ. As the man born blind witnessed to "that man they call Jesus", these folks witnessed to a "Seeing" that was not from birth, one that they have learned through life experience.
One spoke of the experience of letting himself be loved and never really appreciating how much he was loved. This being loved was what opened his eyes to see how much God was loving him, how Jesus was embracing him with open arms.
Another spoke of the fear of letting go, of trusting not just another person but trusting the "unseen" mystery of God and acknowledging that you don't have to go it alone.
Another spoke of finding an inner light, an ability to recognize the creative presence of God in the world, despite the many voices of "reason" and even cynicism that say "no, there is no reason to believe.
Another spoke of finding her own voice, her courage to follow her intuition, like the woman at the Well last week, who recognizes that Jesus has this life giving water to give her, even though her path would be a different path than her ancestors.
There were many more voices that spoke yesterday of having their eyes and ears and hearts and hands opened to the remarkable presence of God in Jesus Christ. But one in particular shared with us an image of how each individual's inner light when it comes together with others creates a brilliant, but not blinding light. That my friends, is the light of Christ who we are called to be for each other.
I would like now to call forth from our assembly those who are called to wash in the pool of Siloam, those called to be baptized in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the One who is sent.