Lent 2011 - The Jesus Interruption
Each week of this season, we will be entering into the experience of an individual whose life was interrupted by an encounter with Jesus. This week - The Blind Man (John 9)
It feels like a random encounter at first. The disciples just happen to be walking along and sort of come upon this blind man. Seeing him prompts a theological discussion, of which he is the object.
I wonder if he said, "Um, hello? I am blind, but I am not deaf! I can hear you, you know. I'm standing right here and you're talking about me as if I am a case study for your spiritual growth. I am not a curriculum illustration!"
In this whole story of blindness and sight, John works at multiple levels to reveal where blindness is. And it seems to me that one of those levels is with the disciples themselves, treating this man as if he is no more than an object for discussion.
And notice how quickly John move the man from being the object of conversation to the subject of the story. Even Jesus himself, after healing the man's sight, fades away. The man becomes the primary actor, even standing toe to toe with the Pharisees.
And what is his declaration? "I don't know some things, but one thing I am sure of - I was blind, but now I see."
How many times to we regard others as objects, rather than beloved individuals of sacred worth? When we pre-judge another person, lumping them into a category before truly knowing them as a unique self, we take away their inherent dignity and value. And we have a bunch of categories to choose from, don't we? Old, young, liberal, conservative, evangelical, activist, gay, straight, poor, rich, middle-class, immigrant, white, black, hispanic, asian - and the list goes on and on.
We like these categories because they allow us to order our world in a preconceived notion of "should" that makes us feel secure. But when we do, we are treating people as if they are objects, and that is wrong. Instead, Jesus reaches into the life of the individual person and heals what needs to be healed so that they can live a new life.
May we interrupt our prejudices in order to see people as Jesus sees them - beloved children of sacred worth.