I’d like you to read John 9:1-23 yes….twenty three verses (you could continue reading through verse 41…)! However, I will take them in sections so as we can build a story. I’ll wait! ……
I urge you to turn to your bibles now and read John 9:1-7. Jesus is walking along and sees a man that was blind from birth. Automatically, everyone is asking who sinned to cause this blindness. Jesus again breaks the myths and stereotypes…. “Neither he nor his parents. It is so God’s mighty works might be displayed.”
Some continue to question the practice of social distancing themselves, “Where is your faith? God will protect you.” While I know that God protects, I also know that God requires us to respond…not to go about like Pollyannas. God is not the great watchmaker, but God did create, and does continually create. God calls and we must respond. What I have noticed over these past few days is that we may have taken each other for granted. Yes, we saw each other on Sundays but did we really see each other. I wonder if we took for granted the kids getting in our way at the hospitality tables, or perhaps the talking during the worship service.
Now read John 9:8-15. The blind man has received his sight. The neighbors of the man now begin to question him and to his identity. He exclaims, “Yes, it is me!” How can this be? A man they call Jesus….He said go to the pool and wash…I did and I could see!
Spital and mud…gross! Spit baths always grossed me out as a kid and I’m sure I’m not alone. I almost think it was a right of passage to have grandma or an aunt clean up the face with a little spit and a hankie!
I wear a contact and I’ve got to tell you the most unsanitary thing you can do is lick your contact and then put it back in your eye. Remember there was a huge controversy in the time of Jesus as to spitting and working on the sabbath. So Jesus really was being a little socially rude to spit in the dirt and then rub the mud on someone’s eyes. Jesus took the opportunity to help this man in need but notice that the man was open to that help.
I think accepting help or assistance is one of the hardest things we do, as if somehow it makes us look weak. Jesus called and the man responded and what a gift he received. He responded in faith, in that he went to the pool and then opened his eyes and was healed. Jesus invited him into a new relationship and the man accepted…although he didn’t fully grasp what had just happened to him and by whom. We are experiencing a time where we are all in this together.
We really are Easter people living in a Good Friday world (I’ll tell you a story about this when we get back together). I must tell you Monday thru Saturday these days I found myself slipping towards the oh my, the why us, the calamity in the world. I have turned notifications off on my devices and have stopped being glued to the news. IT HELPS….I feel better‼‼ Turn it off and spend some quiet time with God and just yourself.
Now read John 9:16-23. The blind man has received his sight by the gift from Jesus and the Pharisees now question him and his parents. The man when asked what he had to say about Jesus, “He is a prophet.” His parents being grilled about who the healed man was, “We know he is our son. We know he was born blind. Be we don’t know how he now sees, and we don’t know who healed him. Ask him …he’s old enough to answer.” They were afraid of the authorities. The authorities had already decided that whoever confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue.
These past weeks have been quite crazy, who to believe…who to turn to for untainted information… should we stay away from each other or practice social distancing? The big question for most of y’all is when will our church doors be open again so I can be with my church family. The texts, the messages, the phone calls all prove that this family at FPCLC really needs each other and wants to be with each other.
Some have agreed with us continuing our worship online and live but not sitting in the pews … a few have disagreed with us and think that we should be shoulder to shoulder in the pews, showing our faith and conviction to the Lord. When we enter into these discussions and times, we must remember to look at the person’s situation through their own eyes and experiences. The understanding and compassion needed is all important.
The Light of Jesus Christ illumines us and invites us, allows us to see things more clearly, see things more fully, and be open to the experience of the other. Jesus invites us to listen and to always look through the other lenses. That is always his way of showing us how love neighbor as our selves.
We are blessed that the Session had the foresight and envisioned that we need to develop and utilize the technology around us to be able to bring worship, studies, and classes to you live and outside of the four walls. There are so many churches that didn’t get why we were doing this and thought it was a waste of time and money. It is those churches that now scramble to reach out even to their congregations. The technology and equipment are in place and it helps connect us when we are away from the church.
The blessing of the social media is that we reach so many people that need to hear God’s message and the joy we are all feeling in ministering for the Lord and performing the calls God makes of us. The short coming is that not everyone is on social media or the internet and we are trying very hard to try and connect with you folks.
I pray you remain safe, remain resolute, remain calm, and always be in prayer. Take this time to listen for God and the words God has for you. They will calm you and give you strength. Here is the prayer I read a few weeks ago from the pulpit.
Prayer for a Pandemic by Cameron Wiggins Bellm
May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake. May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable. May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those that have no options. May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go. (May we be grateful for our teachers as we experience their days KLG addition.)
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margins at all. May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose love during this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let’s yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbor. AMEN
If you need anything or you even just need to talk … please call me, call a session member, call a friend, heck…call an enemy they’ll be glad to hear your voice!
May the peace of Jesus Christ be with you and those around you!
Pastor Ken 215-327-2854