John 9:1-41

“The answer to my unborn prayer, didn’t come from anywhere, but anywhere is where it can be found…” (From the meditation, Love of God)

Like the previous story of the Samaritan woman, the blind man parable shows the Incarnate Word meeting people where they are and waking them up to a new vision of the meaning and purpose of life. The Samaritan woman was a seeker, aware of the “Light,” and desperately seeking it, but yet she had not fully opened to its revelation. She was, in a certain sense, prepared for the encounter in which she was enlightened. In this story, the one healed, or brought into the light, was born “blind,” without any awareness of the Light. It is easy to read this story literally in a supernatural manner, and while it is still very powerful in that way as it is full of God’s grace, it is also a wonderful metaphor for what takes place in the heart world of one who was blind but now sees. Our inner struggles with revelation parallels with that of the world’s struggle against “The True Light, which enlightens everyone, coming into the world.”

It is obvious that this story reveals the conflict produced in the world when grace and truth makes itself available to everyone wherever it wants with no qualifications or pre conditions, wild, untamed and under no one’s authority. But can we also see a crisis unfolding in the heart of the newly “called,” the one whose eyes have just been opened?

It seems in this story that Jesus, as light for the blind, gives sight to a person who does not ask for help. This is blatantly true and untrue. How can this be? It is true because God rains down the blessings of the Holy Spirit upon the just and the unjust eternally, whether we ask for it or not. It is untrue because the angst of the spiritually blind is in itself one of the deepest, and pristine of unborn prayers. You can hear some of these prayers put into words in the Psalms as they express real fear and anger. God continually seeks us out to heal and we continually pray for healing whether we are aware of it or not.

There are many observations and questions that are inherent in this parable, too many to be discussed in one setting. Questions especially for those of us who believe in reincarnation or are questioning the possibility. This reference to previous lives also brings up the question of, “time,” and why, “We must do the work of him who sent me/us while it is day; night is coming when no one can work.” Eternity has no end or beginning but eternity contains within it light and dark – day and night.

The Light, the Word of Life never sleeps, so maybe the idea of night refers to the state of the blind one. Jesus is doing the work he and his followers are sent to do; they are living their lives according to God’s will for them. As he, Jesus, walked along, or on his journey through life doing what he sees God doing he notices a blind one whose heart has been opened by the very blindness that causes the pain so that it has been exposed to the “Light” of day. Jesus does nothing more than he does for anyone whose heart cries out for help, whose heart is open for instruction and who is willing to obey; to do as one sees God doing. Jesus’ walking along is continually filled with God’s love and grace ever flowing outward to all he meets. If it is daylight in the heart of those whose paths he crosses, his work can be done. If the heart is closed and locked away in the dark, if it is night, the Word cannot impose its will on, or do any work for that one. These moments are very much like what we now refer to as, “teaching moments.”

Day and night participate in eternity where there is no time.

The crux of the argument between the religious authorities and the Incarnate Word concerns, “sin,” and is the question the disciples ask of Jesus; “Who sins?” The ultimate answer, coming from Jesus, seems to point at the authorities, but in reality it is a cautionary description of sin given to all of us; “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” So, who can cast the first stone or say what sin is? The one who will not judge, nor say what sin is, but only exposes what sin is by the light that gives sight to the blind. This, “Light,” can seem impossibly complex but do not let us forget that it shines forth from the command to love all with our whole being. Surely this story contrasts the differences between how one loves with their whole being and how one does not. The questions, “What is sin,” or, “…who sinned,” and “How are we to love,” address the same problem.

The world view of the authorities resembles that of ourselves before we can see the things of the kindom in that it is biased towards the flesh and not the Holy Spirit. It is the flesh and its desires, or way of “seeing” things, represented by the spittle and mud, which must be washed away from our eyes before we may begin to see from whence our help comes.

This person was born blind, has no clue about the power and meaning of life, or its Mystery and Majesty, or of its Grace and Mercy, or what her/his true identity is, and is not consciously aware of the Holy. But the comforting voice and touch of the Word of Life that quickens the heart of the blind is always present, walking along, to respond to the desperation of the blind. It is this same Word of Life that instructs the blind in how to recover real sight. In complete faith the blind obeys the gentle command to, “Go to Soloam and wash.” Blind faith? Not exactly, as the newly awakened one who has cried out, even unconsciously, for help can at least hear something of the Word, feel its Presence and Love; and it is responded to one way or another. At this point the heart of the blind one has been exposed to the day.

With the desperate need of a blind person holding the hand of a stranger whose love and compassion has offered to guide him or her around certain death, the newly awakened one begins the journey in faith to Saloam that will open his/her eyes to a whole new reality. This voice has such power and love that even though the heart knows not the identity of, or origin of the voice for sure, it responds in faith and hope.

Or…we can refuse to journey to Saloam and we can call into question the authority of the new vision, claiming to already know what sin is or isn’t. We can learn to see and love through the eyes of God, or we can continue in the worship of the flesh that keeps us blind.

There are certainly things that have been revealed and that we can know about God, the big one being how to love as God does. We can know how to love as it is revealed by the Child of Humanity who resides in our hearts. Another, and most important thing we can know about God is that we can never name God, we cannot claim to “see” God. We can “see” what God is doing, but through God’s eyes, not our own.

Jesus said, “I shall give you what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand has touched, what has not arisen in the human heart” (Gospel of Thomas, #1).

More to come…