Sermons 2008
Miracles Physical and Spiritual, Lent 4A, 2 March 2008, John 9:1-41

Home | Light and Love, Christmas 1B , 28 December 2008, John 1:1-18 | The light and the darkness, Christmas Day, 25 December 2008, John 1:1-14 | What would you see? Christmas Eve, 24 December 2008, Luke 2:1-20 | What did you say? Advent 3B, 14 December 2008, John 1:6-8. 19-28 | A refining fire, Advent 2B, 7 Dec 2008, Mark 1:1-8 | Alert, alert! Advent 1B, 30 November 2008, Mark 13:24-37 | Where will we stand: sheep or goats? Proper 29A 2008, 23 November 2008, Matthew 25: 31-46 | The talents to...? Proper 28A, 16 November 2008, Matthew 25:14-30 | Choose this day, Proper 27A, 9 November 2008, Joshua 24:14-25; Matthew 25:1-13 | All Saints A, 2 November 2008, Matthew 5:1-12; 23:1-12 | Holy or not? Proper 25A, 26 October 2008, Matthew 22:34-46 | Things: God's or Caesar's? Proper 24A, 19 October 2008, Matthew 22:15-22 | The wedding and the allegory, Proper 23A, 12 October 2008, Matthew 22:1-14 | The vineyard and the rock, Proper 22A. 5 October 2008, Matthew 21:33-46 | Deference and disobedience, Proper 21A, 28 September 2008, Exodus 17:1-7; Matthew 21:23-32 | Be content, Proper 20A , 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Only one true church? Proper 18A, 7 September 1008, Matthew 18:15-20 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 22:1-16 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Holy Name and Holy Ground, Proper 17A, Exodus 3:1-15; Matthew 16:21-28 | What's in a name? Proper 16A, 24 August 2008, Matthew 16:13-20 | Dogs? Proper 15A, 17 August 2008, Matthew 15:10-28 | Time to get out of the boat, Proper 14A, 10 August 2008, Matthew 14:22-33 | Who, me? Proper 13A, 3 August 2008, Matthew 14:13-21 | LIKE what? Proper 12A, 27 July 2008, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 | Good seed, bad seed, Proper 11A , 20 July 2008, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 | Watch the Farmer, Proper 10A, 13 July 2009, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 | Easy Yoke? Proper 9A 2008, 6 July 2008, Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 | Baptism of David William and Anne Tyler, Proper 8A, 29 June 2008 | The Twelve or the Dirty Dozen? Proper 6A, 15 June 2008, Matthew 9:35-10:15 | Jesus likes sinners?, Proper 5A, 8 June 2008, Matthew 9:9-13 | Lawlessness or not? Pentecost 3A, Proper 4A, 1 June 2008, Matthew 7:21-29 | What do you mean, if? Easter 6A, 27 April 2008, John 14:15-21 | Comforting words and St Thomas, Easter 5A, 20 April 2008, John 14:1-14 | Ordinary good shepherds, Easter 4A 2008, 13 April 2008, John 10:1-10 | Light for clarity, Easter 3A, 6 April 2008, Luke 24:13-35 | "Blessed are those who....", Easter 2A, 30 March 2008, John 20:19-31 | Hallelujah! He's alive! Easter Sunday A, 23 March 2008, John 20:1-18 | He had it all, Palm Sunday A, 16 March 2008, Matthew 26:14-27:54 | Lazarus: Waiting for Jesus, Lent 5A, 9 March 2008, John 11:1-45 | Miracles Physical and Spiritual, Lent 4A, 2 March 2008, John 9:1-41 | Living Water, Lent 3A, 24 February 2008, John 4:5-42 | God's unselfish love, Lent 2A, 17 February 2008, John 3:1-17 | Temptation, Lent 1A, 10 February 2008 | Ash Wednesday, 6 February 2008, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | They heard the Lord call, Epiphany 3A, 20 Jan 2008, Matthew 4:12-23 | Come and See! Epiphany 2A, 20 January 2008, John 1: 29-42 | Remember Your Baptism? Epiphany 1A, 13 January 2008, Matthew 3:13-17 | We Three Kings, The Epiphany, 6 January 2008, Matthew 2:1-12

Lent 4A 2008 John 9:1-41

Miracles. That’s what today’s gospel story of the man born blind is about. Miracles physical and miracles spiritual. Both occur in this story. The trouble is that we don’t really in our heart of hearts believe in miracles, even though we may want to believe. Even when daily miracles are so commonplace we don’t even notice them.

Take this story of Elizabeth who wasn’t born blind. But she lost half her vision in middle age when a tumor claimed her left eye. In older age, a cataract clouded her remaining right eye. She was terrified of surgery for fear that it would fail and she would be left completely blind. But when the bandages were removed she could see. “How bright and beautiful everything is,” she shouted.

Most of us can’t imagine what it is like never to have seen at all. But many of us can remember times, those AHA! Moments in our lives, when we suddenly saw with clear and piercing insight, those times when everything fell into place and we truly began to understand what the Creation was all about. Those times when we felt most the nearness of the presence of God. Those times when we had just recovered from a life threatening illness, the times when we were speechless before the beauty of a wonder of nature, whether great or small, the time when we stood in awe at our first sight of our newborn child -- or grand child -- the time when we were surprised by the joy of knowing that someone special loved us and we hadn’t known it. There had been a blindness within us. But now we rejoiced in the brightness and beauty of what we now saw and understood.

These are the times when we realize that prayers we didn’t know we had prayed had been answered, that there had been a holy response to the soul’s longing for health and beauty and for the God who loves us, no matter what rational explanation could be given for such ordinary and commonplace miracles.

None of it ever seemed commonplace and ordinary to the man born blind in our Gospel story. No longer blind, he comes to know and follow this Jesus who was turning the commonplace and ordinary world upside down.

Of course, miracles can be a two edged sword. With no reference points he now saw things for which he had no concepts. He saw the rippled shimmering waters of the Pool of Siloam but could not name it. He saw colors, trees and flowers, people but could not name them. Visual images sights, colors, shapes, objects, living creatures, and movement overwhelmed his vision at the moment he first could see. He was still blind in important ways.

But something of the brightness and beauty and glory of the seventh day of creation must have been spread forth in the vision the man born blind now saw before him from horizon to horizon. The man born blind saw everything in its original vibrancy, a world he had never seen before.

The man born blind had been touched by the hand of the living God in a miraculous life transforming event after which nothing would ever look the same, nothing would be the same, after which no aspect of his life or person or being would ever be the same.

And at the same time we note that not every blind person in Palestine was healed that day or even time.

There is a movie called “At First Sight”, based on the story of a man named Virgil Adamson, blind for most of his life. At three years old, a disease destroyed his vision and for 20 years he made his way in the world -- through touch and sound. Then a new operation could restored his sight.

But now, suddenly bombarded by perspective, shadow, color, and texture all unknown to him, he is almost killed by a car because distance and motion mean nothing to him. He cannot understand body language and facial expressions. A visual therapist trying to help Virgil Adamson warns: “You must die as a blind person in order to be reborn as a sighted person.”

That’s what this Gospel lesson is telling us about miracles. Not about miracles as ordinarily understood. But about the miracle of transformation into a new creation by the presence, the nearness, the very touch of God himself -- the miracle of knowing that nothing can ever be the same again, of seeing everything -- everything -- through the eyes of faith.

“Amazing grace! how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”


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