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Posts Tagged ‘blindness’


Mark 8:22-26: Adjusting Our Vision

Monday, September 10, 2018

Written on January 11 and posted today as a favorite . . .

The January 10 Noontime struck a chord with a number of people; today the theme continues: We look at how we must give ourselves time to adjust to the newness of something.   Before we leap into action, clutching our new gift of sight, we must first allow Jesus to verify that what we are seeing . . . is what is actually before us to be seen.  We must calibrate our vision with God’s reality.

I love to watch Jesus heal; and I try to learn from his gentle, three-part triptych of interchange.  Jesus moves us forward through a process of deep and significant change . . . if we remain open to possibility.

Jesus often enters into dialog with us by asking, “What is it you want from me?”  He is humble enough to give us think-time and to genuinely ask about our own perception of who we are and what we believe we need from him.

He regularly makes certain that the newness of his healing is not overwhelming, that it does not throw us out of balance.  He is loving enough to know that we are easily knocked off center and confused when there is a change in our surroundings or in our method of interacting with the world.

And finally, Jesus makes certain that we know where to go and what to do next with our newness.  He is wise enough to know that we are most vulnerable when we are taking our first steps at anything.  Sometimes he warns us to say nothing to anyone.  At other times he recommends a visit to the priests for a final blessing.  Most often, there is the request that we allow the newness in us to change our lives and the lives around us for the better.

Today we see Jesus heal a blind man.  Being God, he knows that the miracle has taken place yet . . . he asks for the man’s impression:  Do you see anything?  When the man replies that people look like trees walking, Jesus lays his hands on him again.  This time the sight is true.  He could see everything distinctly. 

I am thinking about all of the times Jesus has brought me through a kind of blindness to see what is obvious.  What was once walking trees becomes people.  A fuzzy uncertainty becomes crystalline reality . . . God’s reality.  I must remember to always allow God to adjust my vision . . . for I do not want to mistake people for trees.


A re-post from August 10, 2011.

Image from: http://horizonproject2008.wikispaces.com/CWeb+Science_Health

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Tobit 2: Mockery

Friday, July 13, 2018

It is so easy to say that the story of Tobit is about healing and reparation and then move on to another story; yet today’s Noontime gives us the opportunity to sit with a portion of this narrative and to reflect on its meaning in our own lives.  We see Tobit’s virtue and courage in the first chapter where he is introduced; and we understand that he is a Jewish man who practices his faith and lives with his family in exile in Nineveh, Assyria.  Tobit is unusual, however, in that he shares his meal and his clothes with the poor, and he buries the dead bodies of those slain by the enemy and left for the birds and animals to consume.  On this particular day, Tobit has brought back the corpse of a man that was left in the market.

Commentary will point out that Tobit enters the house after a simple ablution and does not wait for the ritual seven days as is required in Numbers 19:11-19. He washes himself, eats his meal, and while he waits for sunset so that he might bury the unknown man, he meditates on Amos 5:11 and 8:4-6 from the prophecy which criticizes the wealthy who trample the poor and steal their grain rather than feeding or helping them.  Tobit cries at all of this sadness and finally he buries the dead man once the sun has gone down.  As a consequence of all of this goodness, he is mocked by his neighbors . . . and even his wife.  We do not know if Tobit sleeps outdoors because of the heat or because he has been in contact with a dead body, but in either case, the consequence is the same . . . he becomes blind.  In this way, the writer sets up the story for us: “The pious Israelite suffers because he attends to the needs of others”.  (Mays 722)

When we reflect on Tobit’s circumstances we might find ourselves in his story.  How often do we follow the rules – even at great emotional and fiscal cost – yet we feel blind to the success others enjoy and are even made to feel foolish?  We know that others do not adhere to the basic requirements of life and yet they seem to suffer no negative consequences.  We may find ourselves wondering why we do what God asks if all we receive in return is the disdain of others.  We see that ridicule and derision are the tools most frequently used by those who operate in cliques.  Respect for one another, a sense of fair play, and reward for doing as God asks seem at first to bring fierce suffering rather than reward and The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men. (Psalm 12:8The good man suffers because he attends to the needs of others.  So why try to do as God asks if the reward is . . . mockery?

We cannot in one day hope to understand why bad things happen to good people and why bad people seem to live free of consequence.   We can, however, begin to take small steps toward the understanding that God brings goodness out of evil . . . always . . . that the wicked only appear to escape consequence . . . always . . . that goodness brings a reward from God far greater than any we can devise for ourselves . . . always . . . and that it is in union with God that we experience true and lasting happiness . . . always.

Jesus himself is ignored and mocked by many.  Why should we be excluded from this treatment at the hands of those who fear goodness?  From childhood I was taught that self respect is the only respect we need earn.  I learned from my parents that cliques are formed by those who need them most.  I was taught to see that blindness comes in many forms and that what we call disability can actually be a boon.

As an adult I have come to understand how wise my parents were, and I try to pass this wisdom on to my children and grandchildren.  I have come to know that the only good opinion that matters is God’s; and that I need not unravel all the evil in the world or convert all the wicked.  I recognize that God has asked me to play a role in his kingdom building . . . and this I try to do as well as I am able each day, trying to see creation as God does – as the dawning of something new and beautiful each day.  So this is how I have arrived at responding to anyone who may ridicule me for conforming to God’s will: I live in the belief that those who practice exclusion rather than inclusion live in fear . . . and that those who mock us most are most in need of our understanding, our patience, our prayer and our love.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 722. Print.


Image from: https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/earth-from-space-15-amazing-things-in-15-years

We will be away from the Internet for several days. Please enjoy this reflection first posted on July 22, 2011.

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John 9Against the Light

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Siloam Pool

Siloam Pool

Adapted from a May 14, 2010 favorite.

In the opening verses of this Chapter, Jesus begins to explain that misfortune or disability is not a sign of our sin; it is only misfortune or disability.  Jesus cures a man of blindness as if to make a point.  A miracle occurs yet in verses 8 through 12 we see how the people doubt that the cure has taken place: No, he just looks like him. In verse 13 the Pharisees become involved.  The healing happened on a Sabbath; work has occurred.  This is a transgression for which the temple leaders must have an accounting. This man is not from God.  The healed man is called a second time and asked what has happened, to which he replies  in verse 24.  I told you already and you did not listen.  Why do you want to hear it again?  The Pharisees continue to question and he replies: This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes . . . If this man were not from God he would not be able to do anything. This is a challenge to them.  They cannot comprehend – or accept – the miracle before them and so . . . Then they threw him out.

In the final verses of this chapter Jesus speaks to the healed man to assure him that they have not broken God’s true law – the Law of Love.  Explaining that he is the light that has come into this world of darkness, Jesus gives his listeners something to think about: I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.  This tweaks the Pharisees – who have refused to see and accept this cure as coming from God.  Jesus says to them: If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, “We see”, so your sin remains.  Jesus points out to these men that they have seen the truth and reject it . . . so that they might believe themselves to be in control.  They irony is this:  They were never in control as they have imagined themselves to be.

Christ Healing the Blind Man at Bethsaida: Gioacchino Assereto

Christ Healing the Blind Man at Bethsaida: Gioacchino Assereto

In this story we are again in the world of inversion where up is down and down is up, poor is good, disability is a plus.  Jesus is the light and the Pharisees set themselves against this healing force.  We have the opportunity to examine our reaction to miracles.  Do we accept the gift of life which each of us is offered?  Or do we put aside our petty haranguing with one another in order to unite in Christ?  Are we stubborn Pharisees or are we blind people cured?

Do we flail against the light and insist that what we see is not really happening?  Can we accept in confidence the gift of healing and give back to God our total trust?

If this man were not from God he would not be able to do anything . . . so when the light enters our lives as it so often does let us not thrash against the goodness and the warmth. 

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Isaiah 42:6-7: The Mystery of Wisdom – Part IIcandle and scripture

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I am the Lord, I have called you . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we call on the Lord, we find the answer lying in our own response to God’s call to intimacy with goodness.

I will hold you by the hand and watch over you . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we take God’s hand, we discover that we are also called to extend our other hand to those who live in darkness.

I will make you as a covenant to my people . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we extend our hand to others, we have entered into God’s promise.

I will make you a light to the nations . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we enter into God’s promise, God’s light flows through and from us.

I will call you to open blind eyes . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when God’s light flows from us, we begin to heal others.

I will call you to bring out prisoners from the dungeons . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we begin to heal others, we bring them forth from their prisons of fear, anger, anxiety and prejudice.

I will call you to bring out those who sit and wait in darkness . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we bring others forth from their prisons of darkness . . . we find ourselves standing in the fullness of God’s eternal, all-encompassing and nourishing wisdom.

Tomorrow, wisdom as promise and grace.

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December 3, 2012 – Psalm 145 – Trust in God Alone

Open%20gate%20at%20Bayou%20Bend[1]Grace us this week with your presence, O Lord, that we may focus our hopes and our work in you.  Amen.

We sometimes wander aimlessly in search of happiness or peace . . . when all the while we do not notice that God has gifted us with a beautiful Eden in which to live. 

We sometimes are so intent on completing tasks and chores that we miss the beauty surrounding us . . . when all the while we rush past opportunities to build relationships that will bring us joy.

We sometimes see all windows and doors as closed or obstructed pathways . . . when all the while Christ waits on the other side for us to knock and seek. 

Let us spend some time with Psalm 145 today . . . and let us learn to trust in God alone. 

The Lord sets captives free . . . let us ask for our own freedom from fear.

The Lord gives sight to the blind . . . let us ask to be healed of our own blindness.

The Lord is good to all . . . let us put away our childish envy and see that God has enough for all.

The Lord is just in all his ways . . . let us strive to act in justice each day.

The Lord is gracious and merciful . . . let us forgive all those who have harmed us.

The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in love . . . let us put aside all anger and anxiety.

The Lord is trustworthy in every word . . . let us treat all whom we meet with openness and honesty.

The Lord is worthy of high praise . . . let us praise God joyfully and without ceasing.

The Lord is near to all those who call upon him in truth . . . Come Lord Jesus, come!

When we trust in God we find new strength to open old doors. When we trust in God we find transformation. When we trust in God we are restored in newness.

 

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