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Date: 20 Feb 2002
Time: 13:13:03

Comments

This man is not from God for he does not fit out standards, therefore he is a sinner. Aren't we church people singing the same old tune today?

If your beliefs are different, it is not seen as just a difference, even a lack of faith, but any works of faith must be discredited. why do we do this?


Date: 20 Feb 2002
Time: 13:15:29

Comments

Here Jesus chose not to see things in terms of sin but this threatened the belief system so the witch hunt was focused on Jesus.


Date: 21 Feb 2002
Time: 17:54:43

Comments

The interesting point is, I think, that the blind man gains sight as the story moves on while our Pharasee's slowly lose their sight. One is moving from literal to spiritual, the others are moving from a spiritual to a literal. Jesus sits in the middle, a catalyst for exposing both.

The accusation of 'sinner', in the scripture, on this web page and in life, is used as a way of dismissing another (of course, we also have more polite ways of accomplishing this!)... much like one might say, when losing an argument, "Oh, you don't know what you are talking about!" or, to be blunt, "Shut up". "Sinner" is used a rude religious way of saying you want that person to be quiet while you tell them the truth.If we are honest, we are all sinners... but who wants to admit that about themselves?

It is easy to say, "You are a sinner!" and, to the accusers advantage, in most cases it shuts people up or, at the least, drives them away.

It is far harder to say, "God has blessed you" or "I am wrong" or even "You might be right".

Notice also, how abandoned our hero becomes- parents, neighbors, friends.... everyone.... abandons him to the trial... except Jesus. He hangs in there... and gets the last word!

I babble.... my apologies!

TB in MN


Date: 23 Feb 2002
Time: 06:07:23

Comments

If the man was BORN blind, how could the blindness be due to his sin?


Date: 27 Feb 2002
Time: 03:49:17

Comments

In response to the question, "If the man was BORN blind, how could the blindness be due to his sin?"

I have been reading "Does the Soul Survive? A Jewish Journey to Belief in Afterlife, Past Lives, and Living with Purpose" written by Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz. I had known---but pretty much forgotten===that Judaism allows for the possibility of reincarnation. Jesus was questioned one time on his opinion re: life after life ("Whose wife will she be in the resurrection?") Perhaps this question was to ask his opinion re: reincarnation.


Date: 27 Feb 2002
Time: 11:23:37

Comments

I am thinking about v2 as a text to talk about "medical" and "social" aspects of disability, and the attitudes Christians ought to take to this debate. It is a curiously good parallel.

"Who sinned? This man, or his parents?" is a very good parallel to the modern disability debate. "This man sinned" is in essence the "medical model": the disability is located within the individual, it is a weakness/disorder to be cured (or, worse, for which the individual should be excluded/rejected). "His parents sinned" is an (almost) equally good parallel to the "social model": the disability is located in society's attitudes which say that only people with certain ranges of ability are allowed to be full members of society, so the correct approach is to change either the attitudes or their physical consequences (e.g. by ensuring that ramps replace stairs so that being in a wheelchair does not disable an individual).

This debate tends to polarise along predictable left/right lines: conservatives will adopt the medical model as "realistic"; liberals will adopt the social model as "progressive".

That makes it interesting that Jesus chooses to cut through the debate and focus on the individual. In effect he rejects both arguments. He takes on board the realism of the medical model, and cures the man. But equally he takes on board the progressiveness of the social model, and takes the man seriously as an equal within society, whose voice should be heard and whose needs should be met.

Questions:

Is this an illegitmate "reading back" of a modern debate into an NT text, or a legitimate application of an enduring lesson to a modern context?

If it is a legitimate application, what might count as a "disability" nowadays? Sensory disorders, mobility disorders, mental disturbance - all have gospel warrant. What about ethnic minority status? minority sexual orientation? lack of intelligence? moral weaknesses? What are the limits?

Even if it is a legitimate application, what is the "good news" in it for a sermon - is it more of a house group discussion?

I have some ideas on these but would like to hear others' thoughts unprejudiced by mine.

Thanks for your opinions.

Stephen in Exeter UK


Date: 27 Feb 2002
Time: 12:20:09

Comments

thanks for the thoughts re. Rabbi Spitz. It is really helpful to be reminded that Jewish thought allowed for the possibility or reincarnation. It explaines an excuse some people have for blaming people for conditions into which they were born. Thi s is not so antiquated. This kind of thinking is actually on the rise because of the New Age over emphasis on "free will" which assumes that people always choose any fate which befalls them. Manzel


Date: 01 Mar 2002
Time: 16:23:45

Comments

MTSOfan,

Posting this for next week because you might not look at this week at this late date (I'm often still mulling over my sermon until Sat. night when I generally write the final version). You said you were in the Poconos? Anywhere near Kirkridge? It's my favorite place to go for spiritual renewal.

RevSophia


Date: 03 Mar 2002
Time: 07:01:09

Comments

I'm looking for a "tie" with the OT lesson from 1-Sam. and I think I find it in this verse from that lesson:

16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."

It seems to me that the Pharisees are looking on the man-born-blind through human, rather than divine, understanding.

Still working on this.... now to tie it into my "elemental christianity" series (earth is this week's element).

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 03 Mar 2002
Time: 13:55:25

Comments

To TB in MN

Actually, I found your babblings interesting... about how the two parties (the man and the Pharisees) moved.

On the Rabbi Spitz comments, I also thought they allowed for the concept of "original sin" and wondered if this were considered a consequence. I suppose it doesn't matter, because no matter what notion the disciples had in asking the question, Jesus put it off instantly.

Now, for my own comments:

Last week, I had to do a funeral for a baby who died at 2 months. I'm sure many of you have had to do this. The parents are an unmarried couple. The mother has not been to church in some time. The father has never been to ours, but may have been elsewhere, I don't know - he's clearly not churched now. The maternal grandmother has been away from church for some time. So, to some, this question rises - is this a punishment from God? Is God taking this child because of such a (supposedly) "sinful" situation?

During the funeral message, I addressed the feelings of those who would be "Job's friends" only briefly, but they were dismissed.

I feel that here, we have the disciples being "Job's friends," attempting to analyze pain rather than seek to minister to it.

Job ended up with no answers. Jesus answers simply. Why is there suffering? Why 9/11? Why did the baby die? Strangely, so God could be glorified. God was glorified in Job, in the man born blind, and yes, in the 9/11 tragedy. And in the baby? I only pray He will, in the end, be glorified in ways I cannot now see.

I do know this much; God's plans are greater than my comprehension.

JG in WI


Date: 03 Mar 2002
Time: 16:22:24

Comments

JG in WI: "Why is there suffering? Why 9/11? Why did the baby die? Strangely, so God could be glorified. God was glorified in Job, in the man born blind, and yes, in the 9/11 tragedy. And in the baby? I only pray He will, in the end, be glorified in ways I cannot now see. I do know this much; God's plans are greater than my comprehension."

Please, please, don't blame God for these things. Yes, God IS glorified in them, but they don't happen SO God can be glorified. God is glorified IN SPITE of them. They happen because of evil, or chaos, or the fallen nature of the cosmos, or call it what you will... but they don't happen for any reason remotely resembling any "plan" of God's. God works within the chaos and the evil, but God doesn't cause chaos and evil. When it happens, God certainly has a plan to deal with it, but that doesn't mean God wants it to happen.

Your questions, JG, are very much like the questions about the blind man -- Is it because he sinned, or because his parents sinned? -- both lay the blame at God's feet ... but, in truth, his blindness is not God's doing at all -- his sight IS! In the midst of the chaos and disease, God works, but God hasn't cause the chaos and disease.

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 03 Mar 2002
Time: 17:05:47

Comments

JG in WI --- My heart and prayers go out to you. Such a funeral has not yet been my experience. I can only imagine the struggle of it. But we praise God that God can and does fill in all the blanks in God's time.

Eric in KS --- Elemental thought - Mud is a mix of earth and water. This earth was powerless until mixed with the living waters of Christ.

Kat in PA (poconos, too!)


Date: 03 Mar 2002
Time: 17:15:19

Comments

I agree with Eric. Bad things don't happen to us so God can be glorified. But God can be glorified even when bad things happen. God can use bad things and turn them around to accomplish good. i.e. a church member of mine lost her daughter in a tragic drunk driving accident. The drunk driver left her to die instead of calling 911 for help. The result was that this quiet woman was motivated to join MADD and speak out publically, even becoming president of the local chapter. God was able to use this trajedy for good. PH in OH


Date: 03 Mar 2002
Time: 21:33:07

Comments

Who sinned? Jesus sees an opportunity "that God's works might be revealed in him." If we witness suffering and do nothing then we adopt the sin as our own. Keith in SC.


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 05:41:26

Comments

Several translations of verse 6 use the word clay - That Jesus made clay from the dry (dust) ground. There are other instances of Jesus restoring sight and he doesn't resort to this type of physicality. It makes me think that the cause of this man's blindness was that he was born without eyes, Jesus, in making clay from dust was creating eyes where none existed before.

Having no Greek, I am well aware that this might be a total misinterpretation of the text. However, today is the first time that I've been able to come up with a possible reason for Jesus' strange behavior in this story.

My thinking divides personal sins from SIN. SIN is the great divide or divorce between God and humanity. When it came into the world SIN caused a fatal flaw in all of creation of which we feel the effects daily. The perfection of creation is spoiled and to such an extent that when God's plan is fully implemented all must be new - new heavens and new earth, the old must pass away. The bodies of the resurrection will be like these but not, just as Jesus after the resurrection.

Jesus in making clay, then was recalling our creation from clay, and made an act of re-creation. He was placing in that man something that was never there but should've been. SIN is deeply woven in us even at the level of our genes confusing the plan that is plainly written.

This man like all men and women is born to give glory to God. His physical blindness is a symptom of the spiritual blindness common to all of us.

I'm not preaching this week, at least I don't think so, and I hope my musings are eye-opening and not leading chaos. Certainly the words above could be arraigned in a more coherent manner. --- Deke in TX - Pace e Bene


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 06:24:47

Comments

TB in MN Nice babble! Nancy-Wi


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 06:37:48

Comments

Stephan in UK I read your post, but am still confused (I need sight) I don't understand the conservative/liberal split. Most of the people I know believe in doing what we can to fix disabilities and making accomidations so that no one is excluded. Not all conditions are of birth. Maybe this is something more in tune with your congregation. I hope this helps you. Nancy-Wi


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 08:30:22

Comments

"We know that God does not listen to sinners" Does this line from the text spark any misgivings in anyone else?

Michelle


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 08:50:36

Comments

Eric is KS--one word for Sunday's sermon: MUD (verse 6).

With the snow I think you got last week, you'll probably be surrounded by mud if it gets to be spring up in northern Kansas!

Sybil in southern Kansas


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 09:39:12

Comments

Sybil from somewhere in KS wrote: "With the snow I think you got last week, you'll probably be surrounded by mud if it gets to be spring up in northern Kansas!"

When the temp gets above 30 (late today or tomorrow they say) we will indeed have that good black stains-everything-it-touches northeastern Kansas mud...

And, yes, it was the mud of earth and spittle in today's story that led me to use this Gospel as the entree into considering, as one writer has put it, "the spirituality of dirt"...

Here is an interesting bit from a physician who writes about non-traditional healing:

There is so much suffering in this world and I feel it. Yet what I feel is my own. I weep inside but the tears will not come. What does this mean? We live in the west in our great modern comforts while the rest of the world, the bulk of the world, lives in squalor as what some might call primitives. Yet those whom we might be so arrogant as to call primitive are closer to the source than we are. Their own deep struggles with day to day survival bring them close to the universal source within themselves and all that exists. Their toil in the dirt gives them the spirituality we have abandoned or ignored in the west. Perhaps the closer we get to the dirt the closer we come to returning to whence we have come. It is said we come with nothing and we leave with nothing. Those who dirty their hands in the dirt of the daily struggle just to find food and water, to stay alive, are closest to that state of having nothing. Is this why they are closer to the source or is it their emotional pain and daily struggle that pushes them closer, just as you do with me now? Is this why they can so often be happy, so pure, so spiritual and thus so much like an untainted wise child? Is this what happens once they abate with the struggles borne of the flawed being of humanity that inflicts such outrage on others out of vengeance for what has been cast into their own oceans? Is the purity of the intuitive child within what we are brought to when we grovel in the dirt to survive; when we return to our origins, our source? Does the detriment, the waste, the feces of life drive us here? Do indeed the most beautiful flowers spring from the deepest excrement?

"Unfinished Business, Healing, Emotional and Spiritual Growth," _Spirituality and Non-traditional Healing_, by William E. Field II, M.D.

You can find the whole essay and others online: http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/wef2/spirituality/spirituality.html

Blessings, Eric in (Olathe) KS


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 09:48:59

Comments

Deke in TX - "Pace e Bene" to you too (Are you a Franciscan? My parish is "St. Francis of Assisi Parish".)

I really like your discussion of "clay" and the possible explanation of Jesus' "odd behavior"... I had never even thought (odd for me) of refering to the Greek in this instance.

The word in Greek is "pelos" and its first (preferred) translation is "clay, such as potter's use!" Its secondary meaning is "mud" and even in this sense it means "wet clay".

I do not know if the "clay" used in the creation story in Genesis is "pelos" in the Septuagint -- I don't have a Septuagint handy (only the Greek N.T.) but I suspect it is... probably also the term in the Septuagint version of Jeremiah's famous "house of the potter" prophecy.

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 09:49:10

Comments

I don't think we can approach anything in John the way we do the other gospels. He starts from a whole different place - not an orderly account (like Luke claims to offer)or historical record, but a series of brilliantly crafted vignettes that show Jesus to be the revealer of God, and hence our Savior. I think the key or cenral point in this passage is Jesus' question in v. 35 and the man's reply - his declaration -I believe. It is the same as for Nicodemus and the woman at the well in the past two lectionary passages. It is John's big big big theme, running thru his testimony like an electric current. The blind man had done what any reasonable person would do before Jesus' question - he recognized Jesus as a prophet, and as having authority from God. After those easier steps the question becomes deeper, a more life-at-stake matter - Do you believe in the Son of Man? - not in some abstract, future, from-the-clouds way, but as right here in front of you, working in your life, calling you now. This is the question for all of us - to "see" in Jesus the living God, the living WORD, the source of real life. Only in believing do we begin to "see" all that Jesus is about. If we won't believe (like the Pharisees, and others too - even Thomas until he finally gets it without having to touch) then we are not comprehending, perceiving, "seeing" God and we are shutting God out - thus passing judgement on ourselves as "in the dark" and "blind." We talk about blind faith, but Jeus might say that it is unfaith that is blind. Bultmann's commentary of John is great. Jim in CT.


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 10:25:16

Comments

OK .. I found a Septuagint (online, no less -- you can see it yourselves at http://spindleworks.com/septuagint/septuagint.htm)

The word "clay" isn't used in Genesis.... (Popular songs about "a hundred pounds of clay" notwithstanding). The word used in Gen. 2 is "dust" ("choos" in Greek).

However, the word "clay" ("pelos") is used in Jeremiah (18:6) and also is found in Isaiah's use of the "potter" metaphor as well -- Isa. 29:16.

So, Deke, I hope this helps you; it helps me -- thanks for the clue.

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 10:37:45

Comments

Gang: I just found a really good site for those interested in language and word-root studies. It has several ancient manuscripts online, as well as translations of Scripture into 42 different languages! Unfortunately, it doesn't have all the current English translations, but I guess you can't have everything. I found it looking for the Septuagint and it's Greek text is easier to read than the Spindleworks site's.

It is The Unbound Bible site, maintained by Biola University: http://unbound.biola.edu/

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 10:51:25

Comments

I'm sure glad to see that everyone is hard at work in John that leaves Ephesians to me. One fact The blind man is told to wash off the clay at the pool. Could not the grittyness of the clay have scrubed off cataracks which are like a scale over the eyes. Is it possible he was born with Cataracks? any way he had nothing to loose by obeying Jesus worst thing could happen is he would still be blind and would lose nothing but by being obedient he had a chance to gain his sight. Thats why Jesus always ask folks to do something. Go wash, Stand up, Strech out your hand, Go show your selves to the priest, Etc. Just musing.

Harold in Alabama


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 11:41:24

Comments

reguarding the issue of the pharisee question, who sinned, the man or his parents? I think that this is very reflective of the old testement concept of the retrobution Theology, or the dueteronistc ideal, the notion that those who practiced righteousness and followed God, had some degree of protection from earthly missfortune. those who were disobediant got walloped. The Book of judges make a good example of this philosophy, and it was likely alive and well in second temple judaism. it was belived that things like birth defects were examples of the wrath of God on Human Sin


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 12:30:20

Comments

No, I can't see any reason to look for a (naturalistic) physical explanation in this healing. No cataracs. He was born blind.

Spit was thought of to have healing properties. There is spiritual meaning in the blindness and dthe healing.

Re: the healing qualities of MUD and the primeval connections with our origin (in science as well as Genesis?)--- Yes, there is a reversal of values going on in this story that the use of earth contributes to. Not only do we more highly value people who stay clean in their vocation as opposed to getting dirty, we also rank people according to their distance from the earth. You know, the tall executive office bldg thing. A basement level job may be just as important but not respected like the TOP level office. We climb the ladder to success. the presidency is the highest office in the land.

Even when we wear the white shirts we have a fear of dirt. Remember the horror of "ring around the collar"? Embarrassing as sin!

Bill Herzog says that the closest thing to NT miracle stories are television commercials. Modern miracle workers dazzles us with how they get out stains. Mr. Clean, I hear, is making a comeback. Remember the tide knight with his lance (miracle wand) and the look of delight on the woman hanging the laundry? Even today, we look with amazement as the beaker of ink water turns clear when you stir in the Oxy something or other.

Jesus put mud in the guy's eyes!

pHil


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 13:11:03

Comments

Eric, Not formally a Franciscan but in spirit I think, My parish is St. Francis of Assisi also. How'd it go with your deacon candidate preaching? I pray he's a better preacher than this one. -- Deke in Texas where the wind blows cold from over the muddy snow fields of Kansas.


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 14:01:02

Comments

"Bad things don't happen to us so God can be glorified."

However, in this lesson, isn't that what Jesus says? "he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him."? Why, oh why didn't Jesus say, "Bad things just happen. Now, let's use this opportunity to let God's works be revealed in him."? Did Jesus not know that some bad things just happen? Or is there a reason for all bad things, only we can't see the connections? If so, what was the reason for the man's blindness, if not the reason Jesus noted?

I realize I am rambling, but sometimes I believe we try to rewrite the scriptures to make God better fit our understanding of how God should be. God is God, and it is possible that God did indeed cause the man to be born blind in order to have God's own glory revealed by Jesus in this miracle. But only Jesus could make that claim, because we cannot read the mind of God. We cannot make that claim about any evil that occurs today. We must, with Paul, merely trust that "in everything God will work for good," no matter how bad it is, or how evil the source of the horrors we experience.

Let us not assume that God did not make the man blind from birth. Instead, let us preach the text, without making parallels too close to our experience of suffering.

By the way, we are not told that the man who was blind was suffering. It is possible that his family had the means to care for him without his having to beg. Maybe he was sitting there with friends, telling stories. We do not know.

I said more than I intended, but maybe that's okay this early in the week.

Michelle


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 14:03:50

Comments

Does anyone know the origin of the phrase

"Here's spit in your eye"?

Pr.del in Ia


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 14:44:19

Comments

pr Del: I think the expression is "here's MUD in your eye". I don't know the origin, sorry. Michelle: I like what you said. Going too quickly to conclusions and "re-writing the texts", as you say, are the two things that make for bad preachers.

Surely this text has a lot to do with the structure -- a Johannine formula. Intrinsic in it is the way it fits with the previous and the next one. All to reveal, vignette after vignette, who Jesus really is.

It seems as if this is all about blindness and sight, or "darkness and light" -- one of John's favorite themes.

Surely we preachers cannot miss the humor in the drama also. My favorite part is when the man says "all I know is I was blind...now I see". Perhaps that simplicity is the theology of life in the light of Christ.

Vancouver, B.C.


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 14:51:33

Comments

Pr. del: In England we say, "Here's mud in your eye" - which confuses things further in considering this passage...

Now, on "that God's glory may be revealed". I am not sure how good a reading of the original it is, but I want to try going down the line that EVERYONE is born so that God's glory can be revealed in them... if they, and the people around them, are willing (a) for it to happen and (b) to see it.

So, to return to my earlier posting (which obviously confused most people), what I want to say is that the blind man was not "disabled" except by his society's attitude to him - they labelled him as "blind" without considering what he might be "able" to do.

Conversely the Pharisees (and perhaps the man's parents) were actually "disabled": they were unable to see the glory of God, either in the blind man (before or after his healing), or in Jesus.

Which is what everyone else is saying too, but I am trying to get it into the context of some modern polemic. If this way of thinking about disability is unfamiliar to you, try looking at the website of the US Christian Council on Persons with Disabilities at http://www.ccpd.org/ - their Statement of Faith is very straightforward conservative evangelical, which doesn't happen to be my theology, but their deductions from it about approaches to disability are simply excellent.

Stephen in Exeter UK


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 15:04:33

Comments

9:3 Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him.

Someone born with a gross handicap often finds ways around it. Someone blind may increase his/her auditory skills, manual dexterity skills or a myriad of other sense skills that compensate for the handicap. I believe that these folks become handi-capable. Just last week a 7 yr old girl was visiting us with her parents. She was unable to use her legs. She crossed them in front of her, somehow locking them. She then lifted herself with the heels of her hands and "walked" across the room faster than I could on two good legs.

I could see within her, God's blessing, a pure heart and steadfast love. These are God's works revealed to me.

EF in GA


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 16:37:54

Comments

Just found two explainations for "Here's mud in your eye."

Here's Mud In Your Eye: This toast was originally made in the muddy trenches of World War I, or in the cafes where English and American soldiers spent their leaves trying to forget them.

Mud: Here's mud in your eye is used as a toast. The speaker is really congratulating himself, for the saying comes from the world of horse racing where the winning horse will kick mud into the eyes of those following.

The Blind man is out ahead of the Pharisees

Pr.del in IA


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 17:26:12

Comments

Early in the week...

and just read this story aloud in as many English translations as I could find.

I am thinking about contrasting the sightless, mud-covered journey to the pool (someone must have been helping him) with what must have been a celebratory parade back toward the synagogue. This man had never seen anything. I am sure he was in sensory overload! I can also imagine the scene at the pool. It must have resembled a rowdy baptism!

Miracles always upset religious norms. It is easy to forget how miraculous salvation is!

Anyway, right now I am considering a story-telling approach this week.

Ed in AL


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 17:39:57

Comments

As in last week's Gospel text, I am taken aback by the multiplicity of preachable themes here. The one that leaps out initially is the nieve, child-like faith of the man born blind. It both gets him into trouble, as the Pharisees interprit it as effrontery; and it saves him as Jesus openly reveals to him his Messiahship. What was that Jesus said about receiving the Kingdom as a child?

Pastor Andy, Ionia NY


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 17:43:13

Comments

Does it strike anyone else that the figure in the DPS logo bears a resemblence to Harry Potter? The evil machinations of Satan, or just not enough sleep on my part?

I apologize for taking up valuble cyberspace with such silliness.

Pastor Andy, Ionia NY


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 18:34:51

Comments

I remember the toast Here's Mud In Your Eye from the old black and white films of the 1940's The first time I believe I heard it, it was from a Humphry Bogart movie. I'm not telling my age but you could get into the movies and have a bag of popcorn for .25 cents I saw the original releases. Sometimes I feal as old as dirt but I have a very young heart.

Harold in Alabama


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 20:03:44

Comments

Pastor Andy, Ionia NY

Here's showing my age, I think the logo looks a bit like Encyclopedia Brown.

Michelle


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 22:00:28

Comments

Michelle makes a point about Jesus' answer to the question and his apparent use of the words "so that...." A valid point!

The Greek is "hina" (or, actually, "ina" with an asperation). This word does mean "in order that" or "so".... If the translators have punctuated John correctly, the answer does suggest that the man's blindness was part of some divine purpose.

But what remember that Greek has no punctuation. What if the translators have gotten it wrong and added punctuation in the wrong places.

The Greek in transliteration of Vv. 3-4 is:

(3) Apekrithe Iesous oute houtos hemartan oute hoi goneis autou all'hina phanerothi ta erga tou theou en auto (4) hemas dei ergazesthai ta erga tou pempsantos me

A word-for-word translation of the Greek of Vv. 3-4 would be

(3) Answered Jesus not this one sinned not the parents of him nevertheless in order that manifested the works of god in him (4) we must labor at the works of the sender (of) me

This could be punctuated in a variety of ways, but consider just one possible change in the punctuation:

Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned. Nevertheless, so that God's works might be demonstrated in him, we must labor at the work of the one who sent me."

In otherwords, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned." Full stop, end of answer. New thought: "Nevertheless, so that God's works might be deomnstrated in him, we must labor at the work of the one who sent me." The manifestation of God's work is through the work Jesus and his disciples will do, not through the blindness of the man.

This is what Leslie Weatherhead would refer to as the "circumstantial will of God" rather than the "intentional will of God." That is, God takes advantage of an evil situation and uses it for his purposes, but does not originally plan for the situation to exist.

Just a thought....

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 04 Mar 2002
Time: 22:06:27

Comments

By the way, Michelle .... do you think Bugs Meany and the Tigers are still around?

Of a similar age, apparently....

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 02:38:34

Comments

How to gross out a congregation? Spit into some mud and rub it on the eyes of a friend. If that was the whole sermon there would be so many different emotions to process and so many questions asked. Anyone game? Blessings Petereo.


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 06:20:14

Comments

Michelle -- you speculated that the blind man had means of support, such as his parents. Verse 8 makes it clear that he was a beggar. -- Mike in Maryland


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 07:01:10

Comments

Folks, I fear I've been horribly misunderstood - which is fine, I suppose. Francis prayed more to understand than to be understood.

Eric in KS, I did not want it to be thought that I was blaming God for anything. But I do notice what Jesus said. Jesus said, "he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him."

I was not asking those questions myself, but sharing questions I've gotten as a pastor (and I trust you've gotten as well). My answers tend toward the goal of the church bringing healing into whatever suffering there is to do as Jesus did (to the best of our ability) and that God might be revealed in us. (Matthew 5:16)

Sorry I was unclear earlier, but they were early ramblings.

JG in WI


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 07:07:15

Comments

I am currently dealing with a deacon who chooses to work overtime rather than attend worship services. That makes this text a little disconcerting to me, especially in light of the first post regarding our own standards.

I definitely don't want to be Pharasiacal, but my understanding of the corporate nature of worship and church makes me want to see a difference between what I am doing and what the Pharisees were doing.

Can anybody suggest any way of differentiating working for the sake of gain and working to perform service to God?

GC in IL


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 09:03:19

Comments

I think I am using Sam. this week coupled with Psalm. BUt, like your thoughts.... TO ERIC OF KANSAS... MUD as Healing and Theraputic... yeah kids make mud pies for play, and women and men pay real big buck for mub baths in spas, and dont forget the MUDD we can give ourselve facials with. However, on the humorous side, since you are from KANSAS EX SENATOR BOB DOLE probably did not think Mud was cleansing or Theraputic...Remember those MUD Slinging Commericals of the 1980's and 90's... A big sling of MUD on a BOB DOLE Poster...and a male voice said, it's election time time the mud is being slung on Bob DOLE! LOL ROTFL!!!! Eric, I bet you could incorperate this in your sermon! They would remember ole BOB DOLE...


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 09:19:13

Comments

As I worked my way through the commentary of the New Interpreters Bible there were a couple things which come to mind in light of comments to this point.

First off - as someone has already mentioned, John's gospel is much different than the other three. For onw thing as John writes, John also interprets. This story is lifted up as one of the best examples of this.

Second - as many have already lifted up, Sin is central to this story. But in John sin is defined by how we respond to Jesus, not in our actions which is the Pharisees slant, but in how we respond to Jesus as the Son of Goed.

Third - central to the telling of this story is the situation of the Johanine community, they have been tossed out of (or are in the process of being tossed out) the synagogue. The story is told to speak to their situation and while it offers words of hope it does it very indirectly.

Fourth - as some have already pointed out, the blind man has moved from darkness to the light, while the Pharisees have moved in just the opposite direction. The blind man has accepted Jesus, therefore, no sin. The Pharisees have rejected Jesus, therefore, sin.

Not sure where this is all going, but some very interesting background on the text.

Mark in WI


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 09:41:07

Comments

To the anonymous poster who wrote to me "since you are from KANSAS...."

First, I am not FROM Kansas ... I am FROM Nevada, I merely live in Kansas.

Second, I probably can't use that mudslinging Bob Dole image ... but my congregation already knows where I stand on that score. When he ran for President, I had a bumper sticker on my car reading "Not Everyone In Kansas Loves Bob Dole."

Blessings, Eric IN (but not FROM) Kansas


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 09:56:23

Comments

GC in IL asked, "Can anybody suggest any way of differentiating working for the sake of gain and working to perform service to God?"

I didn't think we were supposed to ask hard questions here....

(In other words, I wish I knew!)

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 11:23:56

Comments

Mike in Maryland,

Mea Culpa. When I reread the text, I, too, was struck by the fact that this man used to beg. Yet, I am not sure how much suffering was necessary to that fact. Possibly it was the best way to gain income for a man born blind? I'm not arguing, just musing.

Michelle


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 11:35:26

Comments

Eric in Kansas,

Thank you for the literal translation. I had not yet gotten quite that far in my study. You have the all'hina run together in your quote. Is it supposed to be that way? My copy of Nestle that I have at home has the two words on different lines, so it is unclear. Both King James and NIV translate with "but" rather than "nevertheless" while NRSV leaves it out altogether (and reorders the whole phrase). I'm looking forward to the working of the Spirit this week with this text.

Michelle


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 12:26:44

Comments

Hi, still working with TB in Mn comments. I have noticed that the blind man now not blind is give two kinds of sight. One physical and one spiritual. He also is virtual alone in his support of Jesus by the time full spiritual understanding comes. It speaks to me of the one to one relationship that each has with Christ. Others have turned their backs and their voices on Christ. Does this say anything about how we meet Christ today. Nancy-Wi


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 13:03:13

Comments

I just wanted to point out that this is a good Sunday to sing "Amazing Grace". "I was blind but now I see."


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 13:31:49

Comments

Michelle, We must be about the same age, as I remember Encyclopedia Brown quite well, and his arch nemisis, Bugs Meany. I guess Harry Potter's just fresher in my mind! Pastor Andy


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 14:03:24

Comments

Somehow I think verse 39 is one of the linchpins that holds this story together. Especially how Jesus uses the word "Judgment." Overall the verse sounds alot like John 3:17.

Taylor in Taylor Falls


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 17:19:28

Comments

Sorry to have to ask this off thread a bit,but I am at the end of rope! Well not at the exact end. Does anyone know what hymn the words "Sing hosanna sing hosanna sing hosanna to the King of Kings" belongs to?Nancy-WI


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 17:37:33

Comments

GC in IL: Can anybody think of a way to differentiate working for gain as opposed to working for the will of God? I'd like to take a stab at it. Our denomination is currently focussing its continuing ed on understanding ourselves as called people of God. Called does not mean simply "chosen for heaven"; rather called means "given a job to do here in this place." When we are following our calling...using our God given gifts to do the job God commands us to in this place, that is very different from using our God given talents to make a living. Some of us are blessed by being able to do both at once, but many people are not. The difference, it seems to me, lies in an understanding of vocation. I may flip burgers for money, but my vocation is to do minister in God's kingdom. Using my burger-flipping gifts :) I do ministry (as all are called to minister) by helping out at a local soup kitchen or the church potluck, etc... Anyway, that's how I play with this in my mostly blue collar mind-numbing occupations congregation. Jen in OH


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 18:14:52

Comments

Some how I have gotten a virus that is sending itself to a lot of people in my name while I am away from the computor. If you receive something from skypilot@millry.net and it has an attachment do not open it. I am sorry if any of you have gotten infected. Harold in Alabama


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 18:47:51

Comments

Nancy-WI

Give me oil in my lamp, Keep me burning.

Give me oil in my lamp, I pray.

Give me oil in my lamp, Keep me burning, burning, burning...

Keep me burning 'til the break of day.

Sing, Hosanna, Sing, Hosanna, Sing Hosanna to the King of Kings!

Sing, Hosanna, Sing, Hosanna, Sing Hosanna to the King!

Michelle


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 19:37:50

Comments

Nancy-WI : There are more verses to the camp song, "Give me oil in my lamp." We use this at Camp Christian at Magnetic Springs, Ohio for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). If you are interested in the other 3-5 verses I will be glad to e-mail them to you. My wife was not able to find the music. I suspect the other verses were made up for camp use. i.e. Give me gas for my Ford, keep me truckin' for the Lord... PH in OH


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Time: 20:55:21

Comments

This is a tough text. I think the issues of sin/bindness are distracting. The main focus seems to be on the inability of some to see God moving. I wonder what it is in folks that makes them so blind to the movement of God and I wonder about how to wonder about this without assuming 'i see' and 'they don't'. I think the passage has something to do with humility and openess and/or something to do with the last verses where Jesus says, "This is what I am up to: dividing folks, showing the light on things, making things clear."

Anyhow it is far away for me right now. I pray it comes to me soon, Lord God.

hoping2b


Date: 06 Mar 2002
Time: 06:29:52

Comments

Jen in OH, you could look at being called this way... The Gospel, good news, WORD always asks us to DO something...it is not just a pat on the back, a warm hug, a word of encouragement. Yes, it is those things but not only. Jesus asks everybody to DO something, to BE something. What ever you are - trucker, teacher, waitress, mom, dad, etc...your identity is as a follower/believer/disciple of Jesus - a person called to be something in the vocation and circumstance you find yourself. You could find some very good thoughts on this from mother Teresa. When asked about being holy, she replied that holiness is not for special people, it is everyone's job. She said something like be whatever you are, but be holy in it. Without God for a reference point, a source and origin of love and life, we are making it all up, it is an illusion. The eastern religions (of which my understanding is limited)say a similar thing, but it seems to me they leave out the possibility that God (pure being, or whatever words you use to describe God) could or would manifest God's self to us, with us, among us - as Jesus Christ. We do not feel you must disregard or escape or ignore this worldly reality, but that God is here in it too, revealing God's self. Boy, did this go off into far left field....Anyway, we are all called to be witnesses - read John 20:31 - his whole purpose for this gospel is to testify. That too is our calling, to testify in our circumstance and with our talents, etc, so that others will also believe.. Jim in CT.


Date: 06 Mar 2002
Time: 06:34:23

Comments

GC in IL asked, "Can anybody suggest any way of differentiating working for the sake of gain and working to perform service to God?"

I didn't think we were supposed to ask hard questions here....

(In other words, I wish I knew!)

Blessings, Eric in KS

What about something like this (I've suggested this to my own congregation): It's the difference between having the courage to preach the gospel and invite people to church simply because Jesus commands/calls/invites us to do so and preaching the gospel and inviting people to church for the financial reasons (such as increased attendance might make it easier to meet our budget). It's about motivation....and unfortunately, human sin always gets in the way, making it darn near impossible for us to have a perfectly pure motivation when we perform God's work.

Does that help? Peace, VB in PA


Date: 06 Mar 2002
Time: 07:25:45

Comments

Hi all. Not sure which "entree" to chose from the cafeteria of possibilities in this text, but I am trying to decide between these three: 1. distin-guishing between a religiosity which may blind humans to the realities of faith [the Pharisees were REALLY upset that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, remember, as someone suggested earlier in the postings the rules were more important than the relationships] and a faith which gives light or 2. the idea that God's blessing isn't always pleasant for us --yes we may suddenly see more clearly than ever before, but what we see may inspire us to do things which get us into some kind of trouble with somebody somewhere [got these ideas from Text Week.]This poor guy gets healed and ousted out of the synagogue all at the same time; OR 3. playing with an idea around mud, dirt --the dirt that Jesus used was healing, but the dirt the Pharisees were dishing wasn't .... things grow in good soil; they don't in bad. RevRake in MI, longing for Spring to come so I can get my hands in some DIRT and start growing things


Date: 06 Mar 2002
Time: 09:40:10

Comments

Tim -NY It seems I have a tendency to get stuck in the first scene of this story with the reference to how or why the man is blind, and end up not getting much further. This scene is the beginning of a spiritual journey of the man who ends up challenging the pharisees, in essence getting himself thrown out of the synagogue and finally professing Jesus as his Savior. His parents, (closet believers implied) are trying to have it both ways, but end up abandoning their son to the pharisees. There fence sitting or cowardice is not neutral.


Date: 06 Mar 2002
Time: 10:03:47

Comments

in responce to: If the man was BORN blind, how could the blindness be due to his sin?

Don't laugh but there is a popular Christian counseler training course that teaches that people may suffer because of sins committed in utero (I don't recall the name of the organization, but have bumped into this more than once from otherwise rational believers). Maybe someone else knows the name of the course and its teachers. Anyhow this passage may be the opportunity to adress this.


Date: 06 Mar 2002
Time: 11:20:34

Comments

Thank you for the Oil in my lamp. please send me the other verses e-mail to revncarmichael@msn.com I don't think I will use it now but maybe this summer. I pray for the strength to get through Lent. Nancy-Wi

In OT class I remember some verse in chapter four that our professor claimed to be a remenant dance song. Anybody else remember this or is my memory gone too! Nancy-WI


Date: 06 Mar 2002
Time: 11:28:20

Comments

I really leaning toward Spiritual side of seeing. We often only want to see through the lenses of the past voices and fail to see God moving in new voices. This is true today. Some can not hear praise in the new praise songs because it is not a language they speak. I have younger people who can't hear God in the hymns of the past. It shuts them down. Thank the Good and Loving God for prayer. This also reminds me of those who can't believe that a transformation through Christ can be. One a " " always a " ". The gospel message can change people and it is hard for us to accept either the old or the new. Sorry lots of rambling here. Better go take a nap. Nancy-Wi


Date: 06 Mar 2002
Time: 11:56:16

Comments

Encyclopedia who? David in Ohio


Date: 06 Mar 2002
Time: 13:05:03

Comments

Hello all, thanks once again for getting me thinking about this passage...

Paul talks about once things are exposed by the light it becomes visible...

This is long... bear with me...

I've seen my share of apparent miracles... but I've seen just as many miracles that "I would have liked to see"... life is not fair. Pain comes to the just and unjust, the righteous and not so righteous. Watched the video series the other night, it is entitled, "Wrestling with Angels" the host last week was Philip Yancey, author of many books as you know. A woman was interviewed that had breast cancer... she said something like. She had heard people say that they had prayed and were sure that's why the cancer went away in their loved ones family. She asked the question, "I wondered why my prayers didn't work." or words to that affect... as if to say, "Prayers worked for you, but not for me!" Now, do I think we should stop praying... Heaven's no... what I'm getting at is... what Yancey later described...

"Don't confuse Life with God!"

I know what the scripture says... still, the Bible was written in a time where medical miracles did not happen as often they do now, almost daily -- Hearts are repaired, cancer is removed, eyes that couldn't see are able to now see, hearing is given back."

Still, tragedy happens... 5 children are drowned by a distraught mother... 9-11 came and lives were ripped apart. Some told of "close calls" in their lives... while others experienced the death of friends and loved ones. A 44 year-old parishoner drops dead of a heart attack when she's out with her husband celebrating their 10th Wedding Anniversary. A colleagues child dies of SIDS only to have parishoners "minister" to his family with words, "You know, if you had more FAITH, your child would not have died!" No, don't confuse GOD with LIFE... crap happens... as does grace.

Interesting that the Disciples asked who sinned, this man or his parents... the neighbors didn't believe it was the same person... --- everyone is passing the buck... "Ask him, he's of age..." they didn't want to get in trouble...so they asked his parents if he indeed was born blind or how did he gets his eyes opened?

Then, they asked the man again, "what do you think, how is it that you see?" "All I know is, I couldn't see, then this man spit in the mud... and put it in my eyes and I can see..."

I don't worship a God who "selects some and not others"... so I don't believe God works that way.

Spong was on the radio the other day... (John Shelby)... retired Bishop of the Episcopal Church... I watch with disbelief as suicide bombers continue to take other human lives... for their "God"...

If God is the God of Jacob, Abraham and Isaac... as God is the "father" of the major world religions... how can God condone such behavior. We are brothers and sisters of FAITH. The God of the OT... is the God of not just the Israelites, but also the God of the Egyptians... still, God is given credit for parting the Red Sea for one group, and drowning the other group... that's fine if you're Israelites, but if you happen to be Egyptian, that's not a very nice image of God. (Thank you to Bishop Spong) for some of those insights... I too think we need to get away from giving God credit for the evil WE DO in THIS LIFE.

I know, this is long... thanks for reading it, if you did. :?)

pulpitt in ND


Date: 06 Mar 2002
Time: 13:21:35

Comments

Encyclopedia Brown was a character in a series of books written by Donald J. Sobol from about 1963 until the late 1970's. The books consist of series of mystery stories which Brown solves with logic. The answers are in the back of the books so that you could try to solve them yourself and then check your logic.

Bugs Meany was his arch nemesis, and leader of the Tigers group. Sally Kimball was his bodyguard. The only connection is that his picture (the ones in which he is wearing glasses) resembles the logo at the top corner of this page.

(I have several of the books I got at a used book store, because now my daughter is at a great age for reading them. My Dad sold all mine away years ago!)

Michelle


Date: 06 Mar 2002
Time: 13:34:42

Comments

Nancy-WI asked... "In OT class I remember some verse in chapter four that our professor claimed to be a remenant dance song. Anybody else remember this or is my memory gone too!"

In ch. 4 of John? What is an OT prof doing commenting on a Gospel? Jeesh! This specialists who think they can waltz onto someone else's dancefloor!

I have no idea, Nancy.

Blessins, Eric in KS


Date: 06 Mar 2002
Time: 14:31:09

Comments

As we focus on the idea of blindness vs. seeing, there is a movie that comes to mind. Don't know the name of it, sorry, but it stars Val Kilmer as a blind from birth massage therapist. Eventually, through a miracle of modern science he gains the "gift" of sight. Turns out the gift is more of a curse, as he has to learn how to see. His mind is not trained to process the sensory images his eyes are sending. In one scene he walks into a window, hurting himself, because he doesn't understand the sight of glass. This seems to me to be a powerful metaphor as Jesus is the giver of sight. But when we don't comprehend the sight we are given ie. we don't see the actions of God that are right in front of us, we too are like Val Kilmer's character, we stumble around blindly even though we have been given the gift of sight. Anyway, that is the direction my sermon is going. If someone knows the name of the movie, it would be appreciated. Jen in OH


Date: 06 Mar 2002
Time: 16:14:38

Comments

I have always considered blind people to be privileged, because they are forced to come to terms with their disability and draw on other senses. I think it was Helen Keller who first inspired me to think this thought. Now I have a lady in my congregation whose sight has been taken from her, irreversibly, in a very short space of time and she is proving the point. Life is definitely not easy for her, but with a strong faith, and daily meditation, she is showing a calmness, a peace and a strength that is new. It is almost as though now she is 'seeing' things she did not see before. I feel sure others will have been inspired by examples like this of someone who ' is blind so that God's power might be seen at work in them.' I would like to hear other real life stories of this happening. Rev Marion in Scotland


Date: 06 Mar 2002
Time: 18:15:29

Comments

I'm thinking of talking about spiritual blindness. Why don't we recognize God? Why don't we believe? I have a sister who has great resistance to believing, always has, (always will?). She reads my sermons every week and even comments positively on some. But whenever we talk about God, she always rehashes the same arguments, how Christians are hypocrites etc... even though the few people she knows now who are Christian she holds in high regard and admits that they aren't hypocrits. She's just attached to a certain way of being.

Is spiritual blindness just an issue between one person and God, or do we have some responsibility here?

And what about our own blindness?

I'm starting earlier this week... so I can ask questions. (Yipee!)

DGinNYC


Date: 06 Mar 2002
Time: 21:14:03

Comments

Well today i am taken with the different persons in the text and the ways they react to Jesus. The man born blind who is open, hopeful, clear thinking and a bit of a smart a--; his parents who are carefull, afraid and keep themselves at a safe distant, and the religious teachers who are arrogant, defensive,and blind to the obvious. I am thinking about how these represent the ways we react when God moves and how a reflection of this might be helpful for folks in the chairs.

I am still taken with the idea of humility which seems stressed in verse 41: if we see then we are blind. To be always blind and always seeing or to be always humble and always connected. . .

When I think about how religious teachers could have been so blind I reflect on my own experience. I was, about 1.5 years ago, asked to leave a church. It was a big hurt in my life and still is. I notice how jelous I am of others in full time ministry and i hear this pull in my heart to discredit what they do: feeling outside of things I am tempted to throw a rock.

I still see some of the folks i ministred to and when they are doing well under the grace of God that comes to them from others that is not easy. I do not first rejoice at the good God is doing - I first feel outside and a bit hurt.

I suppose this is ok so long as that is not where I stay but reflecting on this helps me sense something of what was in the hearts of these teachers: a need to not be on the outside and to preserve their own sense of value in the kingdom.

What was at risk for these men; what did they have to loose by admitting that this simple, stunning healing was of God?

A loss of something very dear to them no doubt.

When i first read this text this was my first question: what was in the hearts of these folks that could have made them so blind? Despite my rambelings this is still by big question.

peace,

hope2b


Date: 07 Mar 2002
Time: 01:41:00

Comments

Things which I noticed in this chapter: 1. Jezus sees someone; a very loaded remark. 2. 10 times has been used the verb: to look 3. 10 times has been used the word: blind in singular, 3 times after in plural. 4. 10 times has been used the word: eyes. So, to me it looks like a clear appeal to get the eyes open of the people concerning the Ligt of the world. Thats what the Sabbath is all about!

Gfdekker@CS.com


Date: 07 Mar 2002
Time: 05:33:13

Comments

This one is for Jen in OH,

The name of the movie is "At First Sight," released in 1999.

Peace, VB in PA


Date: 07 Mar 2002
Time: 06:52:20

Comments

Rev Marion and others -- I too have known many people with physical disabilities, such as blindness or deafness, who have coped remarkably well and let fruitful and productive lives. But if you'd asked any one of them, given the choice, they'd rather be sighted, hearing, whatever. Let's not romanticize those with disabilities. I've heard it suggested (tongue in cheek of course) that Jesus shouldn't have healed this blind man; he should have recognized that he was "differently abled" and valued his sightlessness. Thank God that he's not politically correct! -- Mike in Maryland


Date: 07 Mar 2002
Time: 07:57:23

Comments

I am using a theme of the different types of grace and how our spiritual life grows. Anyone else really drawn to the grace in this scripture?

Also, and I know this is early, this is my first year planning Sunrise service. We are currently brain storming ideas. Don't want to do the usual service that will be done at 10:30 service, we will be taking some liberities. If you have any interesting ideas of a new and innovative service would you e-mail to jimjenn93@netzero.net.

Thanks, JR in OH


Date: 07 Mar 2002
Time: 08:27:01

Comments

Stephen in Exeter,

Perhaps you can apply this story in the modern scientific ways we understand things, however, I don't believe this is the point. Jesus, similarly, gets people off the SIN hunt and turned to the details of healing. Our focus is directed to Jesus being from God, and therefore watching and learning from him and seeing THAT difference in our world.

AEA


Date: 07 Mar 2002
Time: 09:07:59

Comments

Jen in OH wrote: "when we don't comprehend the sight we are given ie. we don't see the actions of God that are right in front of us, we too are like Val Kilmer's character, we stumble around blindly even though we have been given the gift of sight."

When Mark tells the story of Jesus healing a blind man and giving him his sight (it could be the same incident as Mark refers to Jesus putting saliva on his eyes, Mark 8:22-26), the man is asked what he sees and he replies, "I see people, but they look like trees walking around." So Jesus lays hands on him a second time and clarifies his sight. The story surely seems to be a metaphor for what you have suggested.

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 07 Mar 2002
Time: 12:03:33

Comments

I think it is easy to get distracted by the miracle here. The healing itself takes only two verses. The rest of the story focues on who Jesus is. That's the Pharisees' problem. They either can't figure out who Jesus is, or do know and don't want to know. ("Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.") Only two verses on the healing, and almost thirty verses on the question of who Jesus is.

Sybil in KS


Date: 07 Mar 2002
Time: 14:28:34

Comments

JG in WI I fully agree with Eric. These tragedies do not happen in order that God may be glorified. Creation in imperfect. The only perfect being is God. There is evil. The way I usually state this is that God always wins! In the face of the most terrible things, the greatest good can come of it. Does God cause the terrible? No. Does God win in the midst of it? Oh yes! That is my experience! lp in CO


Date: 07 Mar 2002
Time: 14:33:01

Comments

Deke in TX, What a great thought! Jesus was re-creating the blind man. Isn't that what happens when we are forgiven? Aren't we re-created to be what we were intended to be---in God's image? Thanks! lp in CO


Date: 07 Mar 2002
Time: 19:08:43

Comments

Jen in OH -- after thinking a bit, I realized that I preached on the inner-vs-outer blindness question you raise when this text came up three years ago. My sermon, "Godly Vision" (which also addresses what was then our newly-introduced parish mission statement) can be found at

http://www.stfrancis-ks.org/subpages/asermons/lent4.htm

Let me know what you think and whether it is of any help.

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 07 Mar 2002
Time: 19:18:16

Comments

I can't resist sharing this sermon title I'll be using - "to see or not to see" . Now, I just need to wrest a sermon from the cosmos to go with it. Thanks all for your thoughts. Jim in CT


Date: 07 Mar 2002
Time: 19:38:50

Comments

lp in CO, You say that creation isn't perfect and that is true. It was but it ain't anymore. The SIN that entered into creation caused a shift in the pattern woven by the hand of God that is now forever bent. In high school chemistry we studied crystal matrices, and how they should line up in certain geometric patterns. Inevitably all crystals are flawed even those that are the purest material.

While this may not be hard evidence of the flawed nature of creation, it has become a metaphor of the state of our universe as it is now. Jesus came to re-create, and who better, but the Logos, that which has become fatally flawed.

I don't think of SIN as affecting only the people but as a universal disturbance of the fabric of creation - in the end those vibrations will tear what God has wrought to pieces. But Jesus is showing us the way to new heavens and new earth where perfection will be restored and all things will be in their right places.

Somehow all that we misdo can and will be made right by the grace of God. I don't pretend to understand how this will come about - but just as the first SIN can be thought of as a "happy fault" because it lead to the Incarnation, so can God find glory even in our faults and crooked ways. Makes no sense, I know, but it is what I see in the mirror darkly.

A friend's favorite prayer is that God writes straight with his crooked lines. That is what I hope for as well. If they have a blooper show in heaven I'm one of the stars. I usually don't recognize my gaffes until it has done it's thing. I pray Jim's prayer and put hope in my faith in this great God that loves us so. ---Deke in Texas Pace e Bene

P.S. Is anyone noticing the relationship in the Gospel stories from last week to now and next week. I see the story of the woman at the well as a story of conversion from total outcast to one who has received Christ in her heart and became an apostle of the Lord to her people. This man born blind is another case of conversion and he gains not only his physical sight but a spiritual 20/20 that enables him to know who Jesus is. And then next week a man is dead 4 days in the tomb and is called to life by the word of God. A pariah becomes an effective witness, a blind man sees the light and a dead man walks. I donno.

My next Sunday to preach is next week - maybe something is developing here.


Date: 07 Mar 2002
Time: 20:55:38

Comments

Deke in TX:

Your comments about sin being a "flaw in the fabric of the universe" which is/will be repaired by Christ is a very Celtic viewpoint. I used this quotation in my sermon on the First Sunday in Lent which introduced the "Elemental Christianity" sermon series:

"The human body and the body of Christ are said to be made up ... from the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water. .... [O]ur bodies and the body of Christ are made up of the fundamental material of the universe. Thus all is essentially one. The material to be found in the sun, moon, and stars, in earth and sea, in birds and beasts, in vital energy and life-force is essentially the same as that in the human body, and the latter awaits glorification and transformation through the glorification of the body of Christ at his resurrection. From this viewpoint, the incarnation and the resurrection of Christ are vital to the destiny of the universe." (Sean O'Duinn, OSB, Some Aspects of Celtic Spirituality, Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, Bulletin 64, May 2000, online at http://www.monasticdialog.com/bulletins/64/CelticSpirituality.htm)

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 07 Mar 2002
Time: 21:24:48

Comments

It worries me that in the text "the Jews" is more or less used to me hostile religious officials. Considering that all parties involved are the Jews it should be a flag that something odd is happening here. Whatever was the original healing story, the Johanine writer has reworked it into a story about the later followers of Christ. They can see clearly but family, friends and community will reject them. But Jesus will return and claim them. It wasn't until about 40/50 years later that the followers of Christ were excluded from the synagogues. I believe that anti-semitism needs to be addressed before one can preach the good news of the blind receiving their sight.


Date: 07 Mar 2002
Time: 21:29:53

Comments

I'm thinking of calling my sermon: "What Do You KNOW?" Notice the arrogance and humility, the faith and the foolishness, that arise when people claim to know something, or confess not to know something:

His parents answered, "We KNOW THAT this is our son, and that he was born blind;

9:21 but 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."

9:24 So 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."

9:25 He answered, "I do not KNOW whether he is a sinner. One thing I do KNOW, that though I was blind, now I see."

9:29 We KNOW that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not KNOW where he comes from."

9:30 The man answered, "Here is an astonishing thing! You do not KNOW where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes.

9:31 We KNOW that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will.

In the beginning the questioners presumed to know that SOMEBODY sinned, just not sure who. Ultimately they say that not the blind man nor his parents, but JESUS is the sinner. When a person assumes that there is a sinner around, group dynamics will bear it out. Look at any alcoholic family. SOMEBODY around here is the problem. Is it YOU? No, then it must be HIM.

Barth was asked if he could sum up his life's work. He said, "Jesus loves me. This I know for the Bible tells me so." That's what he knew. Not who the sinners were.

We'll close by singing "I Know Whom I Have Believed." First we'll examine bigotry, prejudice, and presumptiveness as forms of blindness -- and humility as lenses for seeing the light.

Maybe I'll tell the story of the blind ones and the elephant....

Any ideas on this direction? Peace. Laurie <><


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 04:37:59

Comments

What do I see in this passage in order to prepare a sermon? A DP may be blind. Paul in MO


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 05:34:43

Comments

Might I add another thought late in the week? There is also the theme of justification by faith versus justification by works. The blind man directly/indirectly attributes his healing to a miracle of God. At no point does he try to justify the healing to any mortal reason. Others in the story are trying to find out what the blind man had done to justify the divine condemnation of blindness.

I'm also intrigued by the final line of this passage. Does it go back to Adam and Eve, who lived without sin until eating from the tree of knowledge and gaining "sight"?

There is a danger for me in reading/talking about the blindness versus seeing issue(s) that it can lead some to say, "since I've chosen to see God and understand that my salvation comes through what Jesus did for me on the cross, I merit that salvation." This doesn't mean I won't use the blindness versus sight issue(s), but I need to keep them firmly within the bounds of justification by faith and not by works.

Just some late week thoughts! Don in ON


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 08:40:26

Comments

Don in ON, I don't see a problem in the question of justification by faith or works in this context. There is one "work" that all must do and that is to recognize that we need help. Surely this enlightenment is urged by the grace of God but yet there remains the human half of the equation. I do not believe that God ever forces us to drink of the waters of grace (read Francis Thompson's, "Hound of Heaven"). We are urged, lead, perhaps even tricked into laying down our burdens but they are never forcibly removed from us.

The Pharisees' are blind to their own sin and remain so because they will not accept the grace of sight. I see the action of acceptance as a gift that God gives us in cooperating with the holy work of justification and salvation. It is similar to the gift of procreation where God requires the cooperation of humans in the continuance of Creation. We don't create our children but God doesn't create them without us.

I know that some are radically opposed to the idea that anyone can do anything towards salvation. If that then is the case then no one can condemn the actions of others because they are just being true to their nature and have no choice. - Deke in Texas - Pace e Bene


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 08:58:19

Comments

Grace is uncomfortable, isn't it?

The Pharisees didn't (and don't!) like it because it undercuts all their learning, not to mention their status and power in the community.

The parents didn't like it because it called them into the spotlight.

The disciples didn't (and don't!) like it because it removes all those categories by which they (we!) tried to understand their world (sinner, righteous, insider, outsider, us, them, etc.).

It's only the occasional "fruitcake" who "gets it" (like this young man who was unlearned, a sinner, an outsider, one of 'them'). See also Paul, Francis, Luther, most children, many of the "unchurched,"....

Rick in Canada, eh?


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 09:22:09

Comments

Deke in TX, Yes. I agree. I was just sharing the fact that creation is not perfect. However, there is another way to look at that. Is it not possible (and I am probably going to raise some eyebrows here) that creation is in process? Perhaps all of creation is coming into its fullness? Enjoyed your response! Stirred my brain cells! lp in CO


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 11:11:36

Comments

Rick in Canada, eh?

Thank you for your "uncomfortable grace." We might add a physical aspect to that with the thought of what it felt like to have that 'means of grace' mud in one's eyes.

Michelle


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 12:54:38

Comments

A woman prays in the quietness of the night wondering if God is still active in her life and pleads, "Lord, help me see again."

A man cannot pay for food to feed his family and asks, "What is so Amazing about Grace anyway."

In one year Jennifer loses her father, brother, and best friend. She spends much time trying to make sense of this and formulates a well thought out thesis titled "Why I don't Believe in Miracles"

A family spends their life savings trying desperately to help their blind child to see and wonders, "Why won't God heal my child?"

A man walks into a church and says that he is the ressurected Christ. The congregation looks at him as being crazy.

A woman is diagnosed with terminal cancer and given three months to live. Six years later she is alive and there is no sign of the cancer returning. Everyone calls her lucky.

A very religious woman loses her hearing. She loved to sing and listen to opera music Sunday mornings as she read the paper. Everyone wonders why God would take away the one thing this woman treasured the most.

<+><


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 12:55:20

Comments

A woman prays in the quietness of the night wondering if God is still active in her life and pleads, "Lord, help me see again."

A man cannot pay for food to feed his family and asks, "What is so Amazing about Grace anyway."

In one year Jennifer loses her father, brother, and best friend. She spends much time trying to make sense of this and formulates a well thought out thesis titled "Why I don't Believe in Miracles"

A family spends their life savings trying desperately to help their blind child to see and wonders, "Why won't God heal my child?"

A man walks into a church and says that he is the ressurected Christ. The congregation looks at him as being crazy.

A woman is diagnosed with terminal cancer and given three months to live. Six years later she is alive and there is no sign of the cancer returning. Everyone calls her lucky.

A very religious woman loses her hearing. She loved to sing and listen to opera music Sunday mornings as she read the paper. Everyone wonders why God would take away the one thing this woman treasured the most.

<+><


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 13:06:14

Comments

To the original lp in CO-- We're not only neighbors, but sisters in ministry in the UMC. I'm just up the road in Colo. Springs at Pikes Peak UMC. the other lp in CO


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 13:10:08

Comments

Wow! A lot of contributions this week, and contributions worth sharing. It may not be necessary to add my 2 cents, given the wealth of what's available, but here goes. In this Lenten season that we began by declaring that we are dust and to dust we shall return, we read that Jesus takes some of the dust and places it on the eyes of the blind man, and he sees. Much like a sculptor working in clay, it just took that last little bit to heal/complete the man.

It also seems to me that everyone in this passage (except Jesus) is blind, but only the one born blind is aware of this reality! Last week, Jesus was in a Samaritan village where everyone was thirsty, but only the woman at the well knew it; and next week, everyone is in need of a new life, even though they think only Lazarus needs it. Hmmm, I detect a preaching series coming on!

OLAS


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 14:57:08

Comments

It had been raining again … and muddy … and cold. It was the kind of cold that creeps through one’s garments, completely overcoming any line of defense, a thousand needles stabbing at one’s skin until the white hot pain deepens to that point where there is no feeling at all. She stumbled quickly through the sucking ooze or at least as quickly as one could move in this morass, a slow struggle toward the non-descript building. She was vaguely aware that there had once been feeling in the now almost useless appendages on which she sought to hasten forward. She did move forward, but it was a journey undertaken in slow motion. Perhaps it would not have been so at some time in the distant past, but it was so now. After years of war, after a seemingly interminable time of the oppressive regime, this was the reality of her young existence. And yet, it was worth it. Inwardly she smiled, for after all, it was only rain and mud. Not so long ago, only a few short weeks in fact, the stakes of this sojourn had been so much higher. In each trip she risked everything, her own life, the lives of her parents, everything. Even then, even in the face of such opposition, even in the face of such threat, it had been worth it.

Soon, she reached the shelter of the building. She slogged through the door into the open room and was greeted by another dozen children. They too had struggled to come to this place. They too had shared the difficulty of this day, the difficulty of every day in Afghanistan. And yet, despite the hazards, despite the overwhelming obstacles, here they were … in school.

It was a characterless building with broken windows and battered, bullet-scarred walls. In most settings it might well have borne a great orange sign on the door exclaiming, “CONDEMNED,” warning off any who might be tempted to enter the premises. But not in Afghanistan. Here, it was a school. The building looked to be an empty shell, a corpse no longer capable of even the memory of life, more akin to a crypt , than a place of academics. Yet, whenever Gulchehra thought of it, it was always in capital letters with multiple exclamation points. “SCHOOL!!!” For her, it represented the deep waters of education, the healing pool where she might scrub away the nightmare of her past. It was a place of possibility, a place of hope. In her language they called it, “Sabak,” the return of learning.

And each day as Gulchehra came to this place of miracle, she would give thanks, give thanks that her eyes were being opened, opened to a reality other than death and hate and heartache and destruction. Each day, as Gulchehra would repeat the lessons offered by Mr. Nawaz, she would take another step into a life beyond the horror of her past. Though there were no books to read and no paper on which to write, though there were no desks in which to sit and no chalk for the worn black-board at the front of the room, she gave thanks. For in each repeating of the lessons, in each oral rendition of basic curriculum, her eyes opened just a bit further and the potentiality of new birth blossomed. Her heart was joyous with infinite possibilities, joyous with the wonder of the healing pool.

Others soon joined her, others who came from far away, who came from a country about which she knew little. They didn’t slog through the mud. They didn’t feel the freezing cold. Yet, join her they did, connected in her story and connected in her joy. They joined her as they brought books and paper and pencils. They joined her as they told her story and invited others into the pool. They joined her as they opened their eyes to the wonder of her existence and the miracle of her life. They didn’t join her because they were special people, through they were. They didn’t join her because they harbored an immense capacity to love, though they did. They joined her simply because once there was this man who made mud from saliva, because once there was a man who was more than a man, because once there was a man who was the light of the world. They joined her because in this connection of lives, in this action of love, in this reality of grace, the light shown around them and their doubt was, once again, taken away.

When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" The man answered, "Who is he, sir, because I would like to." "You have seen him," Jesus said, "and he is speaking to you!" "Yes, Lord," the man said, "I believe!" And he worshiped Jesus. Then Jesus told him, "I have come to judge the world. I have come to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind." The Pharisees who were standing there heard him and asked, "Are you saying we are blind?" "If you were blind, you wouldn't be guilty," Jesus replied. "But you remain guilty because you claim you can see. **

My dear friends, in Afghanistan, millions of our brothers and sisters suffer so deeply. Right at this moment as you read this, thousands of children are seeking to return to schools that have been devastated. This is their hope for the future. As Christians, what will be our response? We can make a difference. With them, we can offer up new possibilities. What will be your response? We can be bearers of light. Will we? “As you do unto the least,” he says, “as you do unto the least...”

“Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me, place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free!”

Shalom my friends,

Nail-Bender in NC

** New Living Translation – Tyndall House Publishers


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 15:13:07

Comments

Recently I heard that the Pope made a statement along the lines that illnesses and disease are a result of sin. Yes, because of our brokenness and fallen sinful state, humanity experiences physical and spiritual illness. On a radio talk show, Michael Regan then asked the question: "Okay, since the Pope has Parkinsons disease, what sin did he commit?" Obviously, Michael Regen, and probably many other people do not understand the differnece between the nature of SIN and the committing of SINS. Because Jesus comes to us in our brokenness, we are able to expereince the power and presence of God; and as a result God is glorified (as it should be.)

KK in UT


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 18:27:03

Comments

I'm new to this, so bear with me if I break a rule or two.

I agree with the thought that Jesus is not saying that the blindness was created by God to then bring glory to God. Regardless of the puntuation, it's clear that Jesus is saying that "God's works" are the works of healing. Before the healing God's works are not revealed. If the blindness in the man was God's doing, then God's works would already have been revealed.

JW in WI


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 18:27:46

Comments

I'm new to this, so bear with me if I break a rule or two.

I agree with the thought that Jesus is not saying that the blindness was created by God to then bring glory to God. Regardless of the puntuation, it's clear that Jesus is saying that "God's works" are the works of healing. Before the healing God's works are not revealed. If the blindness in the man was God's doing, then God's works would already have been revealed.

JW in WI


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 20:14:58

Comments

an appropriate sermon title might be 'Blind Faith'.


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Time: 20:49:31

Comments

There are some who have faith, yet never ask questions. There are others who have faith, yet think they have all the answers.

-John T. Collins


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 04:32:27

Comments

From new Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies by Flor Macarthy

Some examples of blindness

Selfishness blinds us to the needs of others Insensitivity blinds us to the hurt we have caused others Snobbery blinds us to the equal dignity of others Pride blinds us to our own faults Prejudice blinds us to the truth Hurry blinds us to the beauty of the world around us Materialsim blinds us to spiritual values Superficiality blinds us to a person’s true worth, and causes us to judge by appearances

I would add Spiritual pride blinds us to the insights of others

Also from Flor Macarthy, a reflection

a narrow mind, a small heart, an impoverished imagination .. all lead to loss of vision, darken our lives, and shrink our world.

also .. on not being able to see ....

Some years ago, there was a total eclipse of the moon at night .. everyone talked about it, some stayed up till the small hours to see it. I asked myself Why all this interest in the moon, simply because it is disappearing ? I was convinced that most of those people wouldn’t even see a full moon in the sky, much less stop to admire it. It brought to mind the words of Emerson: The fool wonders at the unusual, the wise person wonders at the usual.

Rev in Bev UK


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 06:31:54

Comments

Hi, Eric sorry my question was not stated correctly. I reread the post and boy I must have been out to lunch. My daughter was having surgery that day 1000 miles plus away. I hope what I said in the lenten service was clearer! Daughter is ok and the information refered to Gen. 4 and related to a liturgical dance question. I have since found the reference disregard. thanks however for your concern. Nancy-Wi


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 06:45:03

Comments

Nail bender good story. this is umcor sunday and I am thinking of using it as an example of how mission can make a difference not just in one country but in the world. for umc's it is another tie into getting our apportionments paid in full so that the administration costs of our missions are justly paid by all so that God's love is action in the world. Nancy-Wi


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 07:01:02

Comments

lp in CO, It is a conundrum, maybe this best way to look at it is that the old is passing away into increasing chaos while the new is being breathed into existence even now as we write/read these words. Eric rightly recognized my thinking as rooted in Celtic spirituality. The Celts, both pagan and Christian, look for the world beyond the world that we see with standard issue eyes. It's sort of like having two windows open on the computer - one obscures the other. But the discerning eye catches the edge of the other and brings it into view.

This is the kind of sight that the blind man had. He could see beyond all the distractions of what was plain to the man's parents, the Pharisees and even the disciples. He saw Jesus for who He is - a savior for the world and yet a threat to many because they can not keen what lies beyond the veil.

May all who preach this weekend break open this wonderful Word to a people prepared by God to receive it. God bless you all. - Deke in Texas - Pace e Bene


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 07:59:14

Comments

I know that this is a late contrubtion, but as I sat typing my sermon,I had a couple of thoughts to add to the great discussion this week. Suppose the parents instead of trying to remove themselves from the debate, were angry, they knew that for years they had been answering questions about whatthey had done to make their son blind, now in their happiest hour the Pharisees were taking that away from them. The retort could have been because they had, had enough to last them. I see this as an other way of looking at things. Because of the conversation that follows in the second time the son appears before them. He kinds of gets his back up, and is angry, of course with justifaction. But it seems to me that the apple did not fall far from the tree. MR in NY


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 09:00:45

Comments

Friend Nancy,

Thank you my sister for your kind words. Yes, this is the week we give to One Great Hour of Sharing. And it's here, when we join in the pain and the celebration of the other, where we might too, be given the eyes to see the "Other." That is the sacriment of the poor to those who are not poor, that is the point where the Christ might once again be touched, incarnate. Whether that poverty resides in the spiritual, mental, physioligal, political, or economic, it really makes no difference, it is the touching of the "least." The blind man seeks to share in his sight, yet most simply don't want to see. May it be that God will "open the eyes of our hearts," so that we too might say with our lives, "Lord, I believe."

Shalom,

Nail-Bender in NC


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 09:05:35

Comments

Sigh ... that's physiological and sacrament ...sigh.


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 09:26:04

Comments

Nancy in WI -- "I have since found the reference disregard. thanks however for your concern."

No concern -- I was kidding about "dancing specialists" -- Tell me more about Gen. 4 and liturgical dance; write me at rector@stfrancis-ks.org

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 09:55:13

Comments

To Nancy in WI. The hymn you requested is "King of Kings, and Lord of Lords." It is an old Cursillio Tune.


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 09:56:08

Comments

To Nancy in WI. The hymn you requested is "King of Kings, and Lord of Lords." It is an old Cursillio Tune. Dave in La.


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 11:07:45

Comments

<+><

Thank you, I am using your examples in my message on Sunday.

Michelle


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 13:32:56

Comments

Eric in KS,

I'm not sure you'll still get this one, as I am posting on Saturday afternoon, but anyway...

The Greek does become a bit awkward when you don't stop with "...in order to make manifest the works of God in him it is necessary for us to do the works of the one who sent me."

For then immediately follows:

"... while it is day, is coming the night when no one is able to work."

When we put the Greek together like we would rather it be, we're left with a phrase that fits well with neither what comes before it or what comes after it.

I am preaching the grace of God, despite its apparent unequal distribution, so I guess I don't need this particular phrase to come out right now, but I will continue to struggle with it.

Michelle


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 13:54:31

Comments

Since it's 10 to 5 on Saturday, i won't be surprised if no one sees this, but here are my 2 cents: I've been focusing heavily on sin all Lent, because presbyterians tend to skip over Good Friday and jump right to Easter. We've touched on the existence of sin, the power of evil, the wrath of God who got so fed up, God decided to destroy humankind (flood, in the Wilderness, etc.), grace, sins being gone and not just covered up because of Christ, etc. So tomorrow, my focus is on living as children of the light, which means leaving the darkness behind. This is possible because Christ has set us free from sin/faith-blindness, the past. The man born blind has been set free from blindness (physical and spiritual), but the Pharisees want to keep him chained up. Sometimes, it's not pharisees who keep us from living in the light/freedom, but ourselves. We can't accept grace, we can't let go of guilt, we can't stop blaming. The blind man wants to move on, ahead, into the light. Don't let anything hold him back! NOt that this is easy--like the Val Kilmer movie--will the blind man have to close his eyes in order to find his way home? He has to learn a new way to get around. Freedom can be scary; perhaps that's why we sometimes stay in the darkness, instead of embracing the light. Gal 5: for freedom, Christ has set us free! LL in L


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 13:55:18

Comments

Does anybody have any knowledge of an interpretation of this text from the perspective of a blind person? Pastor Andy


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 14:51:55

Comments

Pastor Andy,

I don't know of any from the perspective of a blind person, but believe one could respond with several options:

1. Hope for physical sight

2. Bitterness for continued lack of sight

3. Realize "I" may not receive my sight, but I have other gifts "I" have received from God, such as faith that does not require "seeing."

4. Blaming God for the blindness

5. Spiritual eyes opened even though physical eyes remain unseeing.

Don't know if that helps, but there may also be more. Might be worth asking one who is losing sight due to age or illness?

Michelle


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 15:12:51

Comments

Pulpitt, After one of the school shootings (Isn't it shocking that we've had so many that I can't keep them straight?) I remember reading one parent say of a child who was shot, but not seriously injured, "God held her just right."

Far be it from me to argue fine points of dogma with a parent experiencing such trauma, but isn't there something inherently selfish about such theology? I can imagine being one of the parents of a dead child, grabbing that other parent by the shirt and screaming, "WHY DIDN'T GOD HOLD MY CHILD JUST RIGHT!!??"

A little off topic, but I had to share it anyway. Pastor Andy


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 15:34:15

Comments

Pastor Andy,

We have a regular chat going here this afternoon!

Maybe the parent of the dead child CAN say "God held her/him just right, and holds me now."

Michelle


Date: 09 Mar 2002
Time: 17:42:35

Comments

My sermon for tomorrow (3/10/02) can be found at

http://www.stfrancis-ks.org/subpages/asermons/lent-4-a-rcl-2002.htm

It is the fourth installment in my Lenten Sermon Series entitled "Elemental Christianity" -- this one deals with "earth".

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 10 Mar 2002
Time: 04:40:29

Comments

I don't know why the good titles hit me so late:

"Here's Mud in your Eye!"

"Spit Happens!"

pax pam


Date: 10 Mar 2002
Time: 05:00:00

Comments

To Nancy re words of song...

it's the chorus to "Give me Oil in My Lamp... keep me burning, burning, burning... give me oil in my lamp I pray. Give me oil in my lamp keep me burning, burning, burning, keep me burning till the break of day.

Chorus: Sing hosanna, sing hosanna.. sing hosanna to the king of kings. Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna tothe King!

Hope that helps. Pam


Date: 10 Mar 2002
Time: 05:09:48

Comments

Being new to the comments I didn't want to stir up much and didn't stir up anything. I would like to expand on my brief comment that a desperate preacher might be blind. I think we tend to be blind to scripture when we take our adgenda to it. If our adgenda is to preach it then our view tends to be, "How will I preach it." As such, we may find it more difficult for God to speak to us, and our congregation, through it.

I have been visiting this site for well over a year for the insight I have received. I have not been in a preaching position for several years. Now I am preaching again, a desperate preacheron Monday night, and the site is different. At this point I am having some difficulty explaining the difference, which caused me to think about my motivation for using this site and the results I get.

If anyone looks at this site after Sunday morning I wwould be interested in a response.

Paul in MO


Date: 10 Mar 2002
Time: 06:01:29

Comments

Paul in MO. I come here each week for discussion. I am pretty new only been preaching a year. Many preachers meet in lectionary groups, I do not have one in my area. I don't think we are so desperate for ideas, as we are deperate for different view points. Yes we can be spiritually blind even on here. Hopefully as you prayerfully consider the needs of your flock,and read the postings,and read and meditate upon the text, your focus becomes congregationally appropriate. Why is this site different, I would think that it is because your focus is different. your need is different. I personally like the fact that the world posts here, not just america. Jesus Christ came for the whole world. I get bogged down in local community, and need to hear the big picture so I hear more clearly the small voice of God. Hope this helps, it seems like a lot of rambling to me. I got caught in a snow storm yesterday and am finishing up a sermon to give in 2 hours! I'd better figure out a conclusion. Nancy-Wi


Date: 10 Mar 2002
Time: 19:43:42

Comments

Friend Paul,

I don’t know whether you will see this at this “post-preaching” hour, however, I thought you might be interested in a response.

To your last comment first, I have been engaged in this virtual community for some time, many times entering into the deep waters of intimate discourse, sometimes just offering a passing comment, and other times simply sitting at the table listening to the ebb and flow of conversation, watching the changing of the tides and pondering the wonder of it all. There have been times when I felt extremely connected to the lives behind the words and at other times I have felt more remote. As in all relationships, to the degree that various parties have opened themselves to the other, more complex and holistic bonds have formed. At times, these communal ties have proven quite conflictual, at other times, the connections have been affirming and agreeable. Some of the folks that I have felt most connected to have not always been those with whom I agreed or who agreed with me. For example, Rick in Va. and I have had deep disagreements in the past, sometimes even striking out in manners that were none too gentle, yet, it was often his voice that drove me to more in-depth levels of understanding, that make me seriously consider that which I said and who I sought to become. I often find myself deeply missing those earlier discussions, wishing I had more time for such engagements. Yet, I also miss those voices with whom I most often agreed – Barry in Ohio, RevJan, Susan, and others.

You are right, there have been many changes, but in most loose but fairly narrowly defined communities, this is often the case – in the realm of flesh as well as the realm of electrons. I think it is much like the flow of a river, though the water moves through the channel, the water nor the channel is ever the same as it was in the last moment. Such is the flow of the DPS stream, but perhaps, there is always the hope of a baptism or two along the way.

To your first point, I assume we all preach from our lives, from our experiences, from our particular understandings of truth. Is this an agenda? Perhaps. But it would seem my friend, that if this Word is indeed alive, that it can only speak to that particular place and point from which we live. It’s language and our comprehension will always be discerned through those multitudes of variables that define our existence, especially as the Word has no native tongue. It’s interpretation is always dependent upon our deliberation, and our didactic reflection, individually and communal, and of course, the moving of God’s Spirit. However, I would also suggest that if God’s Spirit moves in ways that are incongruent with the greater community (those who have gone before and those who dwell with us now), then I would be most suspicious of such moving. After all, there is always the very real possibility that it is only gas.

Hope this has been helpful.

Shalom,

Nail-Bender in NC


Date: 11 Mar 2002
Time: 04:30:24

Comments

Thanks for responses. I do know life experiences help shape how a passage is undeerstood, by me and my co nregation, in my case an interdenominational prison chapel group.

I also understand that I have to preach. That is one of the primary reasons I use the lection. It forses me into areas i would perferr to ignore. Usually, I spend a week reading and thinking about the passage before doing research, including that from DP. At that point I am not a DP. I turn the corner and struggle with how it can come alive in my congregation, the most important time, the real presence.

But it doesn't always work that way. Two days before the sermon I read the lection and am really a DP. I go to this site for a sermon. Aat those points that it is to bad that we are constrained by ritual that we don't let the congregation and preacher struggle with how God has/has not been a part of the struggles of their life this past week.

It seems that a desperate preacher has to have a sermon, and we have been there and are rather blind to the scripture. Would anyone want to listen to it?

Paul in MO


Date: 2/11/2004
Time: 4:43:19 PM

Comments

What caused Cataracs in ancient Egypt?