Sermon for March 26, 2017 Lent 4 “To Truly have Sight”
Even for those who see perfectly well the words to the favourite hymn Amazing Grace ring true: “I once was blind but now I see”. Helen Keller has a beautiful, insightful and pointed quote about sight: “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Today we are about celebrating what God and Jesus can accomplish through us when we have the courage to see the mission and be engaged in its completion.
A week or so ago, Kathy and I went to see the movie “The Shack” I will recommend it to you. In the book and movie there is a scene where Mack is rowing a boat and Jesus comes to him and invites him to walk with him. Mack is tentative but with some encouragement steps out of the boat. On the way home Mack starts to walk expecting to not sink until he finds himself up to his knees in water. He turns to Jesus with a quizzical look and Jesus responds; “did you think you could do that without me?”
Here at St. Mark’s we have a vision that is carved with very human minds, hands and hearts. Along the way we hold that vision up to Jesus and ask; is this what you are calling us to do and be? I believe that Jesus has blessed the vision and only asks that we not exclude him from the journey. In essence we need Jesus to be successful. Jesus is not calling us or asking us to be religious but to be faithful and to be friends of Jesus. Like Mack in the movie, we sink when we let go of Jesus.
In the Gospel story we encounter a man born blind. As the story unfolds Jesus dispels several long held beliefs. The disciples ask: what sin did this man commit to be born blind? Jesus answers: all who are born are sinless and perfect in the eyes of God. No longer can the disciples nor we hold on to the view that we or our parents sinned if a child is born blind or any other way for that matter. Jesus also reminds us that we are all born with a divine purpose. For this man, that the glory of God would be revealed at this precise moment. For the blind man who can now see, a whole new set of possibilities are open for him.
I do not wish to suggest that we are blind or blinded all the time, but there are times when our eyes are open and we see in new ways and we can discern paths and patterns that to that point we could not see. And once we do see the new path, we cannot un-see it. We can ignore it, yes, and maybe to our detriment but we cannot un-see. The wonderful thing about a relationship with Jesus is that he is always putting us in the right spot to see what was not see-able before. And then saying ‘come on, this is going to be fun”.
But I do not want to see, or I am too busy is the 21st century lament. I’m not sure how to live my faith when there are so many demands on my time. I’m not sure how I can support my church when there are so many demands on my resources. There will always be demands, what matters to Jesus is that we are engaged and supporting anyway. Be faithful anyway. Do it because we know that God’s crazy and powerful love for us calls us to have the same crazy and powerful love for God’s world. Every now and again we meet giants of faith. For the most part their lives are insanely busy and yet there they are, seeing with newness, following with reckless abandon and supporting with all they have.
Jesus calls all of us to follow. To some he says “walk with me in leadership”. To all he says: ‘I love you and will not leave you’. We celebrate our commitment today because we, all of us have or will see past our self-imposed limiting factors, and see with the clarity of mud drenched eyes into the very possibility of Jesus. Jesus says: Follow me, this is going to be fun!