Sunday March 22, 2020 Meditation - Vicar Dena
Sunday March 22, 2020
Growing Toward the Light
The 4th Sunday of Lent - March 22, 2020
As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.
8The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” 12They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” 16Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. 17So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.” 18The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” 24So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” 25He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out.
35Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” 37Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” 38He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him.
39Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” 40Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” 41Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.
The waters in Venice’s canals are clear enough to see to the bottom
now that the gondolas are still.
A famous artist is now teaching drawing online for free
to children who are learning from home.
Newly sprouted seedlings in trays by my window are reaching toward the light.
We learn from Jesus in this story of a blind man’s sight being restored that something like Covid-19 is not sent from God because of our sins. Instead, having been infused with the light of Love, we are to take every opportunity – good our bad – to open our hearts and minds to let Love shine through our lives.
This happens in big courageous ways – like the healthcare providers who are facing into this pandemic.
It can happen in small private ways – like the ways we can invest the best of ourselves where we find ourselves environed in our personal relationships and places.
It can happen in life-preserving ways – like the ways we are having to adapt to and embrace this new reality.
Here is a parable to ponder. It begs the question, Where is the Light and how am I stretching my life toward it?
There once were workers whose job it was to tend a magnificent garden.
One day they were told by the owner to design and construct
a trellis on which a vine would grow.
They went about their work. They designed a large trellis.
It consisted of two rows of sturdy posts with lattice work on each side
with an arch set above the posts.
The trellis was finished and the vines planted.
After several years, the trellis was covered with the beautiful vines.
They curled in and out of it, producing fragrant flowers each spring.
One day the workers came with large pruning equipment
to tame the robust vine that was beginning to outgrow the trellis.
The owner came and stopped them.
The workers asked, “Why wouldn’t you want us to prune the vine to conform to the trellis?”
The owner replied, “Trim back the areas that are choked,
that cannot get the sun and the rain and room for new growth.
Then, build more trellis in the directions that the new growth is taking."
This is often how we see our lives - and our religion.
We think we must conform to existing structures.
And yet, our God isn’t finished growing us yet!
The original trellis was just a beginning,
not a boundary to determine our end;
not a means of keeping us blind to new ways of being light in darkness.
Where is Love’s light shining and how do we build in its direction?
In Christ’s love,
Dena B. Whalen (The Rev. Dr.)
Vicar, Church of the Advocate, email@example.com, Office 828-253-9361 x227