Judgement or Grace?
(Posted March 16, 2022)
“In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.” -
- Blaise Pascal, philosopher, and mathematician
There’s a good reason that for most of us, outside of the Lord’s Prayer the one other prayer we can recall, even if only in part, is the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” I think that’s because it captures the close, touchable, earthbound way that Jesus cares for us.
The Good Shepherd that he is, Jesus is not beneath picking up us “tired lambs” and carrying us, touching us and tending to the wounds we’ve received from the brambles of this thorny life.
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Grace Restores Sight
In a profound way, we see this same touchable Spirit in this Sunday’s gospel. Jesus comes upon yet another blind man in his travel, but this man does not ask for a healing. His disciples immediately come up with a question that was based on the prevailing belief of the day, that anyone who had an affliction was that way because they had sinned, and they deserved their punishment.
Who sinned… This man or his parents? Jesus certainly had a lesson to teach the disciples right then and there. So he took some earth from the ground, combined it with spit, and applied it to the man’s sightless eyes. He told him to go wash in the nearby pool. When the man did so, his sight was restored.
This would be enough of a lesson for the disciples and the rest of us. But there were more lessons to learn about how we humans can be so hard-headed in our judgments that we don’t even recognize the miracles in front of us.
Upon seeing this now-sighted man, his neighbors couldn’t believe it was him. He was simply more of a disability than a human being. Later on, when the Pharisees questioned him about the healing, they turned this miracle moment into an accusation against Jesus. They said Jesus had violated their precious Law by healing the man on the Sabbath. They were, in every sense of the word, blind to the Light of Jesus, who was acting not out of the Law, but out of love.
Touched and Healed by Grace
We see too much of this kind of thing in our own time – too many clergy and their followers so anxious to proclaim their righteous beliefs that they condemn people who worship God differently from them, or love differently from them. It’s all about judgment, and so little about Grace.
This Sunday, we will follow The Shepherd down the pasture to the valley, where we, too, will allow him to touch us and heal us. Come join us on this Jazz Sunday.