Hunkered Down Devotion

John 9:1-7 (Voice)
While walking along the road, Jesus saw a man who was blind since his birth.
Disciples: 2 Teacher, who sinned? Who is responsible for this man’s blindness? Did he commit sins that merited this punishment? If not his sins, is it the sins of his parents?
Jesus: 3 Neither. His blindness cannot be explained or traced to any particular person’s sins. He is blind so the deeds of God may be put on display. 4 While it is daytime, we must do the works of the One who sent Me. But when the sun sets and night falls, this work is impossible. 5 Whenever I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.
6 After He said these things, He spat on the ground and mixed saliva and dirt to form mud, which He smeared across the blind man’s eyes.
Jesus (to the blind man): 7 Go, wash yourself in the pool of Siloam.
Siloam means “sent,” and its name reminded us that his healing was sent by God. The man went, washed, and returned to Jesus, his eyes now alive with sight.

When I was searching for my first call, as I completed my seminary studies, I vividly recall receiving a letter from a church that I had been ‘matched’ with on the PC(USA)’s Church Leadership Connection system.  I opened the letter and jumped right into the first paragraph, reading about their interest in me as a candidate.  The letter went on to list several qualities they saw in me that they believe to be a good fit for their church.  

The second half of the letter was spent going into detail about the church, it’s strengths, the areas they were hoping to grow, etc.  It wasn’t until I had finished that section of the letter, that I decided to go back up to the top and reread the entire thing, that I noticed something wasn’t quite right.

There it was, the very first thing on the piece of paper: ‘Dear Matthew,’.   I did a double take, confirmed that my name wasn’t anywhere to be found on the letter itself and I came up with nothing.  I checked the envelope, and my name was there right where it should be, above our address.  I looked over the letter again and quickly realized what had happened, this was a form letter, with a space to insert a person’s name, and one line to personalize with some characteristics of this individual candidate.

On the one hand, this was a simple mistake, the kind of thing that could happen to any one and it certainly wasn’t a secret that I wasn’t the only candidate the church was talking to.  On the other hand, once I saw someone else’s name on my letter I really just wasn’t that interested.  Something about the experience, and how impersonal if felt because of the mistake, just soured me on the church, and I couldn’t get over it.  

There are, of course, dozens of miracle stories in the gospels.  Most of these stories involve some type of miraculous healing.  Included in the number are several instances of Jesus restoring sight to someone who was blind.

Each of these stories, while bearing certain similarities, is also unique.  Jesus didn’t do form letters, because each miracle was less about the miraculous act that Jesus performed and more – entirely! – about Jesus meeting the need of the person he was interacting with.  

In this story, Jesus mixes mud and spit, rubs it on the man’s eyes and then sends him to the pool of Siloam to wash himself off.  I don’t know why Jesus did this – he certainly didn’t need to go through that procedure to access his miraculous powers.  Perhaps, it was because the man needed something tangible to attach his hope and faith too; perhaps it was so that all of those at the pool (which was frequented by those looking for healing) would hear about Jesus and turn to him.  We won’t ever know.  But, what we do know is this: Jesus knows who we are, meets us where we are, and brings us what we need when we come to him looking to be healed.

Sharing God’s Love, 
Chip  

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your love and healing grace, and caring deeply about each and every one of us.  Amen.  

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