March 24, 2015
Daily Scripture Readings for Lent 2015
In the middle of preaching in Orlando recently, Dr. James Forbes took off his glasses and held them out to a worshipper in the pew. Reflecting on his glasses, he had had to learn which part of the lens to look through in order to see afar. But another part of the lens was necessary to see up close.
Dr. Forbes’ progressive lenses were a metaphor for how we may focus only on things right in front of us: individuals, individual needs and struggles. But we also need to see at a distance. We need to look at the big picture, at systems and deeply embedded habits. We need to know which “lens” to look through in order to see all that God wants us to see.
John 9 is entirely about seeing and not seeing. Jesus heals a man born blind, mixing saliva and soil to make a mud poultice for the blind man’s eyes. The muddy man obeys Jesus’ instruction to wash in the Siloam Pool–and comes back seeing!
There ensues a bit of a tizzy among the man’s neighbors, the Pharisees, some Jews, and the man’s parents. Is this really the man born blind? How does he now see? If this healer healed on the Sabbath, then he must be a sinner; but how can a sinner do such signs? Is this your son? How does he see? This is our son, but we don’t know how he sees.
The end result is the man who sees is driven out of town. Not surprisingly, Jesus finds him, and the man professes his faith: “Lord, I believe” (v. 38).
“I came into this world for judgment,” Jesus says, “so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind” (v. 39). The Pharisees ask, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” to which Jesus responds, “If you were blind you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘we see,’ your sin remains” (vv. 40-41).
Let us beware being too sure how well we see. We may be looking through only one lens. What is close by, but missing the vast expanse of world into which God is calling us. Or we may be so caught up in scanning the heavens for a sign from God, that we miss the faint fingerprints of God all around us.
Linda Wright Simmons