4 Lent

1 Sam. 16:1-13Ps. 23Eph. 5:8-14John 9:1-41

“God is light and in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). “Everything exposed by the light becomes visible” (Eph. 5:13). Simply, God sees the truth. “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him, for the Lord does not see as mortals see” (1 Sam. 16:7). Thus, in the selection of leaders, providence proffers many surprises. “Now [David] was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, ‘Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.’ … [A]nd the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward” (1 Sam. 16:12-13). The seeing light of God sunders every surface.

God sees and exposes the unfruitful works of darkness. It is shameful to mention what is done in secret, and fearful to consider the gaze of God, “unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid” (BCP, p. 323). This would be absolute misery for a weak and frail and sinful human being if not for the deeper truth that the God who sees is the one “whose property is always to have mercy” (BCP, p. 337). True, Jesus “came into the world for judgment” (John 9:39). He is looking and he knows. And yet his seeing, his judgment, his piercing gaze, is all love and mercy and life-giving joy.

“The light shines in the darkness” (John 1:5). It shines upon those who know only that “darkness is upon the face of the deep” (Gen. 1:2). This brilliant light touches the blind. Why am I blind? Why do I suffer? Why has this happened to me? What have I done? What did my parents do? Jesus gives very few answers. He does say something quite odd, however: “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day.” “We,” he says. He is no doubt speaking to the disciples, but he has thrown his voice to me, his blind and embittered son. Why am I blind? Why do I suffer? Why am I alone? “We must work,” he says to me.

“I am the light of the world,” he says, and, to add sign to word, he imitates the moment of creation, making mud to form a new human being. After I wear muddy salve for just moments, and then wash it away, light appears. I see. Of course people wonder and talk, and I confess, “I am the man.” They push me and I explain, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” What do I think? “I think he is a prophet.” Ridiculed for being well, having violated some rule about permanent defect, I say in a joyous frustration, “One thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see” (John 9:1-41).

Not good enough. Excuse the sermon, and I promise it will be brief. “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to a sinner, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing” (John 9:30-33).

He came again to me and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” I could see, but I didn’t understand. I asked, “Who is he, sir?” He said, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” I said, “Lord, I believe.”

Look It Up
Read Gen. 1. See the darkness first.

Think About It
“Let your light shine” is a jussive subjunctive, a command.


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