Friday, September 9, 2011

THE MAN BORN BLIND

THE MAN BORN BLIND
John 9: 1-41 
Recently I had a  talk with my writer friend Terry. Terry is wise, funny and profoundly insightful. I'm grateful to and for her.

At one point I was saying, sort of tearfully, "I just want to give glory to God!" 

And Terry was like, "Well you already are. Plus does God need any more glory?  He already HAS all glory, doesn’t he?"  

I started laughing so hard I had to sit down on the threadbare green velvet chair. Right away I saw there was something very deep here about the movement from striving to surrendering; from thinking I need to earn to realizing I get to receive.

I thought of the parable of the blind man, John 9:1-41: 

1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”   3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. [emphasis mine]

Later in the same passage, at John 9: 24:
"A second time [the Pharisees] summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man [Christ] is a sinner.”

In other words, the Pharisees are the ones with the notion of giving glory to God instead of having the glory revealed in them. By telling their version of the truth, which is based upon and motivated by hatred, enforcement, and rejoicing in the wrongdoing of the other.

DETAIL, BRONZE DOORS
ST. JAMES CATHEDRAL, SEATTLE

The point being: Calm down. Regard the lilies of the field. God is in charge, not me.

Or as Christ said to another blind man: "Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole" [Mark 10:52].

LILIES OF THE FIELD
Sidney Poitier, Lilia Skala
dir. Ralph Nelson, 1963

5 comments:

  1. What I love about the story of the man born blind is the way it opposes human thinking and divine thinking. The disciples assumed that the blind man's suffering was the result of sin. They were looking for someone to blame. But Jesus says quite clearly that sin was not the cause of his suffering. His blindness was not rooted in his past but in his future. The work of God was going to be displayed in him. What a wonderful way to approach the problem of pain! Instead of looking for someone to blame, we get to look for God's glory. Our present is determined not by our past but by our future. See also Walking Backwards.

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  2. How different life could be for me (how differently I could experience life) IF I could walk each moment surrendering to the Truth that God was IN FACT displaying himself in me. But whoa, how close pride lurks, imagining it IS me, not His glory. Thank you Heather for this rich word today.

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  3. I could have used these words about a week ago, although I'm so stubborn I probably wouldn't have listened to their wisdom. So, I followed my own way to your same conclusion...if you care to see what I mean you can check out these two posts:

    http://annebender.blogspot.com/2011/09/erase-me-lord.html

    http://annebender.blogspot.com/2011/09/chaliced.html

    Thanks for your great blog! I can't wait to read your new book!

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  4. Enjoyed "Walking Backwards," Chip--good stuff! Thanks as well, Carie, and yes, the pride creeps in even when our motives are basically, or start out, pure...I want to be the one who spreads the word. I want to be the one who most enthusiastically SHARES MY JOY!

    Anne, good to know of you and your blog and thanks for the links: "What happens at night when the house is quiet and all of the internet chatter is silenced?" That's what we all get to ask ourselves and not just at night, but all throughout the day...

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  5. Great post, and I got a lot out of it. Thank you.

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