Blindness and Sight, Darkness and Light[NOTE: You will also find an alphabetical list of presentations under “Traces of Verbal Holding Forth”, besides under “See All Blog Articles”.]
WN: I first preached a version of this sermon in 2002 at a Mennonite Church in Didsbury, Alberta. I recently preached a variation at Agassiz Christian Reformed Church in May, 2014. A sub-theme is “Law and Grace”. We must ever relearn freedom.
So here is something to chew on: read the Bible as a Book of Rules, and true spirituality is “ruled” out; and our own spirituality is dead in the water. The Bible is emphatically not a Rule Book rather a Grace Book where “grace and truth” (one of the grand themes of the Gospel of John) are the gem stone setting for the jewel called Law, the “perfect Law of Freedom”, as James puts it (1:25).
Jesus in our story had done the healing on the Sabbath. The rules were evident. No work – not even a healing! – is to be performed on the Sabbath. Now just what is Jesus doing, breaking the “rules”?
I think we all identify with the Pharisees if we look from a larger perspective. Not just in our faith, though perhaps too often there too. But in our understanding of how things ought to be. Just when we think we have life figured out about how things are and work, life’s “rules” as it were, too often something comes out of nowhere to throw us off. It just doesn’t fit with how the world should be, we know. And we can become terribly upset. Come to think of it, “rules” often do not work about many areas of life. Try to live by such expectations and we’ll often come up short.
This healing for instance. It just was not the way things should happen, not in God’s world. The Pharisees just knew. They’d read the Book of Rules, the Book of Moses, the Talmud – so they thought! So rather than adjust to new Light from as it turned out, the Source of all Light, the Light of the world, the Pharisees – and we too often – in response lock ourselves into our own darkness, into our own “rules” about how things ought to be: at home, at work, in society.
Please click on: Blindness and Sight