The past week has been a wild ride with the Covid-19 leading the way. Millions of people are in a lock down type situation. Traveling outside of the country is restricted. Toilet paper, guns and ammunition are selling out (interesting how these are the items we consider the most critical). Retired, I haven’t had the guts to look at my investments and savings. Political leadership has ranged from bold to fault finding, denial and the usual lies. A few senators have shown an uncanny ability to time the market sell off. Depending upon your ideology, the virus is a great threat or nothing to worry about in the grand scheme of things. Conspiracy theories are making unsubstantiated claims about the cause of the pandemic. Stores and business are closing down to reduce spread of the virus while people are partying on the beaches in Florida (only to increase the spread of the virus when they return home). So the question for this morning is about blindness and having the sight to recognize the truth and ultimately perceive what God is asking and calling the church to be in these times.
The Gospel reading from John is heavily into the contradictions of light and darkness, blindness and sight. Jesus gave sight to a man blind from birth. The disciples wanted to know the cause of the blindness; what sin had he or his parents committed before his birth. The focus quickly shifted to Jesus and his identity since only God could do this kind of miracle. The Pharisees got involved because Jesus did this on the Sabbath which made him a sinner. The healed man was questioned as well as his parents. Insults were hurled and accusations of being a sinner were made. The healed man was thrown out of the synagogue and lectured over who he called a sinner. Jesus came to the man and revealed his identity as ‘Son of Man’ and the man worshiped him. Pharisees questioned Jesus of their blindness. He responded, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, “We see,’ your sin remains.
So where does the church and the Gospel begin to fit in all of this? In the reading, Jesus was revealed as a source of healing as well as the presence of God in the world. He also drew a line between light and darkness, blindness and sight. What catches my attention was how the people responded. Rather than celebrate with the man what Jesus had done for him, they protected power structures and searched for a sin to label and discredit Jesus.
The church is a place where light shines on human darkness. In the light, truth needs to be held up against the fault finding, disinformation and false conspiracies. Truth needs to stand against ideology and politics. Covid-19 is a virus that we need to work together as a nation and world to stop in order to reduce the number of people who will die from it. Truth is what will allow this to happen.
The church is a place that keeps its sight on Christ who brings healing. Healing needs to be brought to our divisions. The focus of healing needs to be brought not just for the well connected but to the weak and powerless. The biggest sin in the reading was refusing to see Jesus at work. Today the challenge is to understand that we are called to be different from the world so healing may be allowed to happen and not stifled.
Last week was a wild one. Next week will be the same. So let the light of truth be seen. Keep the focus on Jesus bringing healing into this world.