Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sermon Lent 4: The Man Born Blind

Sermon, April 3, 2011

Lent 4

Ephesians 5: 8-14; John 9:1-41; Psalm 23

Day by day, dear Lord of thee three things I pray:

To see thee more clearly,

Love thee more dearly,

Follow thee more nearly,

Day by day.

“Sleeper, awake!

Rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14)

A man is born blind. Jesus slaps a paste of mud on his eyes and sends him to a pool, named Sent. At Jesus’s command, the man baptizes himself in the Pool of Siloam and he is reborn. He sees!

Dear Lord, I pray to see thee more clearly.

Both neighbors and temple elite, the Pharisees, question the man about Jesus. He answers truthfully and politely, but the questioning continues, repeating over and over, “How was it done? Who is he who did this?” With all this questioning, the eyes of the man’s heart are opened to the truth – love belongs to the one who does God’s will. He answers “He opened my eyes. He must be from God.”

Dear Lord, I pray to love thee more dearly.

The man is thrown out of the synagogue. Jesus hears of this and finds the man. He asks, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The new disciple asks, “Who is he? Tell me so I may believe in him.” Jesus says, “It is I”. And the man’s soul is filled with light. He sees truly, and he says, “Lord, I believe” and worships Jesus.

Dear Lord, I pray to follow thee more nearly.

To the contrary, the disciples, the followers of Jesus, want to know who sinned, the man before he was even born, or his parents, that he was born blind. It’s like asking a homeless man, “How did you become homeless?” or a cancer victim, “What did you do wrong to get cancer?” or an abused spouse, “Why do you stay?” Jesus says, “It doesn’t matter. God’s glory can be seen in anyone.”

Whose faith gave the man his sight? No one’s. Jesus’s faith is sufficient for everything.

Where have you looked for Jesus this Lent?

Have you seen him?

If not, where might you look for him?

What have you done to show Jesus you love him this week?

What might you do to show him you love him more?

Is there something Jesus might have to do for you to love him more?

How have you followed Jesus this Lent?

Where has it led you?

How might you follow Jesus better, more nearly, doing and being what Jesus was and did and is now?

If Jesus is the one who was sent, by God, and we, the man born blind, are the body of Christ in the world today, sent to see and love and do as Jesus did, where are you being sent?

Where is this church being sent?

I pray that in the remaining weeks of Lent, through Holy Week, we will enter into practices of prayer and study and engagement more deeply with other people, that we all will be led to see Jesus more clearly in all that is around us, that we all will love him more dearly in all the people we meet and hear about, and that we all may follow him more nearly, even though following Jesus always leads to the cross. For it is only by going through the cross that we can hope to reach the Easter of resurrection.

“Sleeper, awake!

Rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14)

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