Yesterday, a Colleague blogged about a second long reading from John; and a second temptation for preachers to ramble all over the place in an attempt to catch the myriad themes inherent in the story. He is choosing to limit himself to a single unifying theme, and I am also drawn to a single, though different, unifying theme.
For those who have heard me over the years you will not be surprised to know I am drawn to Jesus reply to the disciples’ question: Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answers: Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. I recall someone re-translating the sentence. No one. He was born blind. Let the works, (deed, doing, labor) of God be revealed. The point is to remove the question of causality and understand the man’s blindness as an incident of life by which, or though which the work of God may be revealed.
Jesus uses the encounter to reveal God’s work by restoring his sight. I don’t know about you, but that is a bit beyond my ability, so what am I, what are we to do when we encounter one of life’s tragedy’s be it blindness, or a mudslide, or a plane crash, or a bad medical report? Jesus’s answer is to let the work of God be revealed. And we can do that by how we interact with the individuals, families, and/ or communities involved; which may be assuring presence, as others attend to available technical approaches.
I’ve shorted it all to: Life happens, let God’s work (actually I use glory more often than not) be shown. in an attempt to formulate a guide for responding to all of life’s happenings: good, bad or indifferent. In many respects revealing the glory, the works of God is what the Gospel story is all about. As I think about it, it’s really what this long story is all about.