Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 22, 2020
It Makes Sense
March 22, 2020
It Makes Sense
Psalms 107: 1-9, 33-43
I John 1: 1-4
John 9:1-9, 13-17
TEXT: "He is a Prophet ..." (John 9:17 ).
In one of Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" cartoons, little Lucy, her fist clenched, is running after Charlie Brown ...
"I'll get you, Charlie Brown, I'll get you" shouts little Lucy. Then she cries out, "I'll knock your block off."
Then Charlie Brown takes over. He stops running, wheels around, and says to Lucy, "Wait a minute. Hold everything! We can't carry on like this. We have no right to act this way. The world is filled with problems. People are hurting other people. People are not understanding other people. Now, if we as children can't solve a relatively minor problem, how can we ever expect to ..." Whereupon, "Pow!" Lucy interrupts Charlie Brown with a stiff punch that knocks him to the ground.
In the cartoon's last panel, Lucy says, "I had to hit him quick, he was beginning to make sense."
The great Christian writer, C.S. Lewis, reminds us of certain things in life that make absolute sense ...
Hunger would be absurd if there were no such thing as food.
Thirst would be absurd if there were no such thing as water.
Loneliness would be absurd if there were no possibility of satisfying that yearning in relationship with another human being.
The desire to find God would be absurd if God did not exist.
To which we might add, "Our never-ending search for the clearest possible vision of life's true meaning and purpose would be absurd and make no sense if God had made His Word unavailable to us.
In the Old Testament Book of Proverbs, it is said that "Where there is no vision, people perish." And in John's Gospel Jesus says, "I am the Light of the world; Anyone who follows Me will not be walking in the dark; He will have the Light of life" (Jn. 8:12). That is to say, anyone who follows Jesus will receive the clearest possible vision of life's true meaning and purpose -- a vision that inspires faith and makes sense, both.
There is within each of us a deep, almost primitive fear of the darkness. We remember how it was when, as little children, we were afraid of the dark, and needed a night light, or someone to come and reassure us. Most of us outgrow this, but sometimes something happens to remind us that the fear is still there. If you ever have been caught between floors in a dark elevator during a power failure, you know something of the overwhelming feeling of panic and terror, total darkness can cause.
In his book entitled, "Alone," the explorer Admiral Byrd contends that there is nothing more conducive to panic than the loss of sight. He describes what happened to a member of his expeditionary party when their plane crashed...
"I shall never forget the agony in Floyd Bennett's voice when we pulled his terribly smashed body up from the debris of our crash landing. `I'm done for,' he whispered, `I can't see anything.'"
One of the dominant themes of scripture is the inevitable Good News of a God who loves us so much that He gave us light.
He sends light to overcome the darkness of our lives. And when you read the Gospels you feel the joy and the wonder of the experience of light that the authors have been caught up in, not unlike the experience Admiral Byrd goes on to describe...
"Bennett had whispered `I'm done for. I can't see anything.'
Byrd continues, "His face was a smear of oil. Then I wiped it away and he could see again, and the expression that transfigured his face was beautiful to behold."
And that is exactly what the Biblical writers do for us. They wipe away the oil, so to speak, and make it possible for us to see.
They make it possible for us to see the light and feel the transforming joy and wonder of God's gift of Light.
In today's Gospel Lesson, the Pharisees are badgering a man who claimed that Jesus had cured his blindness on the Sabbath day. Because the religious law forbade curing on the Sabbath, the legalistic Pharisees want the man to deny that he had been cured. In their view, this could not be a sign of God's Power at work. The Pharisees, in effect, want to bind God to their law governing the observance of the Sabbath. In their view, God was free to listen to the blind man's problems on Sunday through Friday, but never on Saturday. In their view not even God could authorize the work of healing on the Sabbath. The Pharisees said, "This Man cannot be from God: He does not keep the Sabbath" (Jn. 9:16).
John tells us the Pharisees spoke to the blind man again, "`What have you to say about Him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, ‘He is a Prophet.' (Jn. 9:17).
Well, Jesus had news for the Pharisees then, and I've got news for you now: God is listening, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.
God knows where you're hurting, God knows every one of your problem areas, God hears your questions -- even before you ask. Moreover, God has the answers for you and will come to your rescue, any time, any place -- if only you will have faith enough to let Him.
At this very moment, the Light of Christ's Spirit is shining at the center of your being. Drop your defenses! Relinquish all excuses! Let the Light shine through! Let it permeate your being! Let the New Light and the New Life and the healing come into every part of your body and soul. You'll begin to see; you'll begin to share the clearest possible vision of life's true meaning and purpose. You'll begin to come alive, truly alive. This is the gift that Christ offers to each one of us.
This Light that is within us is not ours to keep to ourselves. The whole world, with all its problems, needs to be illuminated by the Light of Christ that shines within us.
To understand this and to take it seriously, we must first open the windows of our hearts so that we can see what the beloved disciple John saw when he cried out, "Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, the real Light which gives Light to every person."
Ordinary light is a form of radiation which stimulates the nerve-endings in our eyes. You can get as complicated as you like in trying to go further with this, but it really comes back to that simple definition of light. And how beautiful to think of Christ, the Light of the world in this way! Energy ... radiation ... power from God Almighty, stimulating all the nerve-endings of our lives -- making it possible for us to see, to penetrate the darkness, to begin to put things into place, to begin to see what life is all about.
And more than that, it is the power that gives us the strength to cope, the strength to live, the strength to love unconditionally.
"Hope springs eternal in the heart," we say. But why should it? The answer is found in that cosmic event in human history whereby that which was done was undone. Jesus who died, lives! Earth to earth ... ashes to ashes ... dust to dust, in sure and certain hope of the resurrection.
This is the sure and certain hope of all who fix their "minds to Jesus" (Heb. 3:1).
What's done is done and is in God's hands. But there remains a work to be done that God has placed in our hands.
Let us, therefore, fix our eyes on Jesus and follow Him in His ministry of healing and loving service.
This makes complete sense!