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).
Tell rest of story…
- Brought before the authorites…
- Whose sin… ?
- His parents hang him out to dry…
- Bring him before them…
- Speaks his truth boldly
- Jesus finds him on the outside…
We confess our part in the BLAME GAME:
Pick any issue. How much of our endless nature versus nurture, personal vs. social responsibility, left wing vs. right wing debates ever centre on anything more than defining or passing blame?
Are we bound to the blindness of our ancestors and hence not responsible for our participation in sinful religious and political structures, or do we have the ability to break the cycle of blindness and learn to see?
’To often like disciples and religious leaders we have suffered ‘Blindness since birth a commitment to a system and ways of operating that we often assume as a ‘given’. The ‘water they swim in’ which John’s Jesus at least questions if not rejecting outright! What systems are we ‘blind’ participants in?
‘I came into this world for judgement 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.
AND SO ITS NOT JUST A HEALING OF A POOR MAN STORY BUT ABOUT ALL BLINDNESS OF OUR LEADERS AND US ALL.
How much time does our culture/ church spend defining sin/blame versus working to remove/ treat root causes?
Consider a painful process of ‘learning to see’ the uncomfortable or embarrassing truths about the social world in which you live? Family, Peers, Church, Nation. What would be the cost to you in speaking out about such truths?
Consider your own growth in ‘learning to see’? What looks different about the world due to your experience of discipleship?
CONSIDER A SITUATION where you have borne witness to the truth. What fears did it raise? What did you learn about yourself and others?
Consider the difficulty of witnessing to one’s faith publicly. What did it feel like in practise? How did people respond?
What is our cultural equivalent of excommunication? In your experience is the church a place of judgement or a ‘safe house’ for those rejected by their own?
Where might you turn to for support due to hostility and rejection caused by expressing your truth?
Blind people learn to see by allowing themselves to become new creations in Jesus, and by responding to the act of creation by joining the Johannine community, symbolized by the act of washing (as in the footwashing episode, 13:1-20).
The “miracle OF CONFESSION IS thus consists of three elements: clay, living water/Spirit, and washing. A PROCESS OF REBIRTH… BORN AGAIN IN LENTEN PARLANCE..
1. Unasked for act of grace. Change that comes from light/sight
2. Challenge from those who seek control.
3. Dual enlightenment about ‘the way of Christ’ and ‘The the way of the ‘world’.
4. Social crisis and movement.
What is your personal experience of such a process?
Ephesians 5:8-14 Good News Translation (GNT)
8 You yourselves used to be in the darkness, but since you have become the Lord’s people, you are in the light. So you must live like people who belong to the light, 9 for it is the light[a] that brings a rich harvest of every kind of goodness, righteousness, and truth. 10 Try to learn what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the worthless things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light. (12 It is really too shameful even to talk about the things they do in secret.) 13 And when all things are brought out to the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed; 14 for anything that is clearly revealed becomes light.[b] That is why it is said,
“Wake up, sleeper,
and rise from death,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Invitation to take the ash from Ash Wednesday smear it across your eyes and wash it off in the baptistry.