Our Sunday scriptures are: 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; and John 9:1-41
For the past 2 Sundays, our scriptures have invited us to let go, give up, surrender our familiar and comfortable habits and surroundings, even our most closely held judgments and prejudices.
God told Abram to move to a new, unfamiliar land. Jesus told Nicodemus to be born from above with a spiritual awakening that would make his life new. Paul told the early Christians to let go of the Jewish laws and embrace a faith based on grace.
Jesus reached out to a Samaritan women at the local well by asking for a drink of water. His example tells us to let go of every stereotype, every prejudice, and embrace every human as an equal worthy of respect, dignity and love. That is a lot to let go.
This week Jesus brings sight to a man who was sightless from birth. The gospel invites us into a new way of seeing. Our readings also tell of the time the Prophet Samuel went to anoint one of the sons of Jesse to be the new King of Israel. Samuel started with the oldest, tall and handsome. God said, No. And so it went until God rejected all the sons, except David, the youngest who was off taking care of the sheep. God does not look upon the outward appearance, God sees with the heart.
That is our challenge today, to learn to see with the heart. In the Bible, the heart is not focused on the romantic love of our Valentine’s cards. The heart is the very core of what it means to be a conscious entity who experiences life, perceives those experiences by forming evaluations based on value judgments of good or bad, right or wrong, and then makes choices that lead to actions.
Today we know a lot more than we did just a couple of weeks ago about letting go of our familiar habits and patterns. We are sheltering in place and practicing social distancing. We cannot even worship together. The next challenge is: can we see with our hearts? Can we see the opportunities to choose love over fear, generosity of hoarding, compassion and sacrifice over selfish comfort?
I pray the answer is, Yes, we will be the People of God, people of love, generosity and compassion,
Rev. Bill Neil