The scripture lessons for this week are Psalm 23 and John 9:1-41. I hope you know and repeat Psalm 23 to yourself often as it is a great Psalm of comfort and assurance. John 9:1-41 is the story of the healing of the man born blind – healed by Jesus – condemned by the Pharisees – abandoned by his parents and friends – reunited with Jesus after many trials and a beautiful affirmation from the now sighted man, “38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.” The Pharisees remained blind, offended, and as haughty as ever. The Pharisees lived by extreme attention to checklists and a rigid moralism which they had constructed to assure themselves of their righteousness. They were quick to criticize and judge anyone else’s behavior while unable to see how their words, actions and attitudes affected others.
I found this reflection written by C.S. Lewis helpful as I reflected on the trouble with being a Pharisee. It is from A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants edited by Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck. The Upper Room Nashville TN. 1983 pg. 125 -126.
People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, “If you keep a lot of rules, I’ll reward you, and if you don’t, I’ll do the other thing.” I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a Heaven creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is Heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.
-From Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
The man born blind who received the miracle of sight from Jesus made many choices throughout John 9:1-41. The Pharisees make choices as well. The parents make choices. Only the man who received his sight realized harmony with God, himself, and others. His healing was far greater than simply vision. He encountered the holiness of Jesus and lived faithfully, gratefully and joyfully as a disciple.
Alan Holt for your work and service to Good Shepherd UMC.
God bless you and Karla with safety, joy and peace in your new home.