3.29.2011

Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A

1 Samuel 16:1-13
Psalm 23
Ephesians 5:8-14
John 9:1-41


Sometimes it is difficult for us to see the miracles that are in front of us.

Most of us have grown up in a society that trains us to make quick evaluations. Evaluate products quickly. Evaluate situations quickly. Evaluate people quickly.

This is a skill that benefits us as humans and helps us each to survive to live longer and grow older.

We are taught to search for the strongest and smartest people. We are taught to investigate situations to understand why something happened. We are encouraged to find the people, places, and things that help us to become more efficient, more successful, faster, and stronger.

This is also a skill that sometimes blinds us.

This week we see Samuel the prophet receiving instruction from God to stop spending time worrying about Saul and to go find the next King of Israel. Samuel had a list of reasons this would not be smart (among them that Saul might kill him), but eventually he begins his mission. He goes out to meet Jesse and Jesse's plethora of sons. One by one, Samuel looked at the young man in front of him, saw the smartest and strongest and fastest and most successful...and one by one God told him to keep looking. Samuel (a guy who was talking with God, by the way) was caught in the habit of only seeing with his eyes.

In a Psalm that was likely written by David (who was finally the candidate Samuel anointed) we see the words of a man who had been through so much he was obviously no longer only looking at the things he could see with his eyes. This Psalm is often thought of as one of the greatest faithful examples we have in scripture. Faith that believes in things that cannot be seen.

In Paul's letter to the followers of Jesus in Ephesus he takes a slightly more ethereal approach to thinking about being able to see. He is encouraging his readers to understand that before they were followers of Jesus, they were darkness (not they were IN darkness....they WERE darkness) and now in the Lord they are light (not they are IN the light....they ARE light). And since they are now children of light, they should shine their light and awake those that are in darkness.

And finally, in John's gospel, we read about people failing to see a miracle of sight restored as they are busy looking for something else. Here, Jesus heals a man blind since birth. It would have been a common understanding that this man's blindness was punishment for the sins of his parents. First, the surrounding crowd asks how this has happened. Then the Pharisees insist on an explanation. And they pass judgment...who would do this on the Sabbath? Even his own parents can't seem to grasp what has happened. All the while, the man who had been blind knew one thing for sure...now he could see. Everyone else seemed too busy looking for something else to really SEE his restored sight for the miracle that it was.

Perhaps seeing really is believing.

Faithful, creative, patient God,
Bear with me.
Gently remove the log from my eyes.
Gently remove the scales.
Wipe away my blindness and help me to See...
to really SEE
that which is wonderful
that which is amazing
that which is created
that which is Your design.
Amen.

© matt & laura norvell 2011 www.settingourstones.org we want to share this with you and hope you'll share with the world; we simply ask that you let people know where you found these words. May Grace & Peace be with you.

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