Monday, February 13, 2012

Here's Mud in Your Eye

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” John 9:1-17

Here's Mud In Your Eye! This toast was originally made in the muddy trenches of World War I, or in the cafes where English and American soldiers spent their leaves trying to forget them. Mud was everywhere and it defined the war and it defined their lives and their deaths. They took what was a curse of their daily lives and turned it into a toast, a good wish, to live beyond the present circumstances. The war was long and seemed interminable to the young soldiers, and countless young men never came home. Others were scared for life.

Jesus encounters a blind beggar. He makes mud and heals the man. The religious leaders argue over why the man was born blind - his sin or his parents. Instead of getting into the battle, Jesus touched one life and changed the whole community forever. God was neither condemning the man, nor his parents. God was and is seeking a way to make us whole, in all our brokenness, and in the midst of troubled times, deep in the trenches of all sorts of battles.

Today, I ask God to help me rejoice amidst challenging times, even when it seems as if assaults are coming from all directions. May we all remember that Jesus is reaching down to bring healing to each and every one. God's action is always that of healing and transformation, of making the blind to see, the lame to walk and the prisoners set free. May we have the courage to seek him in our dark and bound places, so the light of the world might shine through our lives.

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