April 3, 2011 / Text: John 9: 1 – 25 (26 – 41) / Message by: Rev. Carol Haynes Kniseley /
Resurrection Lutheran Church / Fredericksburg, VA / Title: ‘Daddy….will you catch me?’
At the beginning of today’s video, we heard the mom (Barb) stating that there was an aspect of Stewardship involved in this story pertaining to her son’s addiction. And although Drew was now in recovery…and had been clean for over a year….it was something that didn’t happen overnight but after a long and painful journey for everyone involved. A journey that, for Barb, gradually brought into focus what she had come to believe. That as one of Drew’s parents, she had “somehow caused it…and that it was her responsibility to fix it.” After all, she had carried him for nine long months in her body…surely in that amount of time there must have been something that she did wrong…leaving poor Drew to now suffer the consequences.
Sound familiar? It should…having heard in today’s Gospel how the chief figure was a man who had been blind from birth. Amazingly enough, the religious authorities of Jesus’ day (the Pharisees), among others, had come to believe in their heart of hearts that someone was responsible for this man’s blindness. Even for Jesus’ disciples, the answer had become public knowledge. It was an open and shut case if ever there was one. In reference to blindness: personal suffering of this nature was due to personal sin. Blindness was merely a sure sign of God’s judgment and displeasure. It is what they had all been brought up to believe. That is, all but one. Jesus…would beg to differ.
Notice that Jesus doesn’t even ask the blind man if he wants to “see”. Instead, he goes straight to work as he mixes together dirt from the ground and saliva from his spit as if there isn’t a second to waste. And as soon as he has spread the “mud” on the man’s eyes he tells him in no uncertain terms: “Go…wash in the pool of Siloam”, which we are told by John means “Sent”. By the time the man does what Jesus commands and returns…Jesus is nowhere in sight. Leaving the man, who now can see, to deal with everyone’s assumptions. Everyone assumed that since he can see he cannot possibly be the beggar whom they passed by day in and day out. For if he is, they now have to answer the question: “Who removed his sin…and, opened his eyes?”
Returning to Barb’s assumption that “she had done something wrong”, it wasn’t until she hit rock bottom…filled with stress and worry for her son’s future…that she finally realized what had to be done. Call it a mother’s intuition….or better yet, a voice from above...Barb knew that if Drew kept on that same path of using drugs, she was going to lose him for good. Then it finally dawned on her, as to what God wanted her to remember. “ I had to let this go,” she said as tears began to well up in her eyes. “I remembered…that he’s not my child. Everything God gives us is his. We are not owners of it; we are managers of it. I do not own my children. All I can do is give them my love and support and encourage them in their faith.”
What a difference when it comes to thinking about who…and whose we are. What we are responsible for…and what we need to turn over to God. Over time, Barb was able to finally “see” that it wasn’t “her job” to try and fix the members of her family. Her job…was to simply show them unconditional love. The kind of love that Jesus modeled for us today as he intentionally sought after the “man born blind” so that at the exact right moment…he could lead him out of darkness and into the light. But did we notice that the story didn’t end there?
Even after the man had received his sight…and was consequentially thrown out of the synagogue…Jesus came to him once more. Remembering that the man had never seen Jesus with his own eyes, but had only heard his voice…it was his voice…that gave him away. As Jesus once said: “My sheep know my voice….and follow me.” When the man born blind, who was now able to see, looked into Jesus’ face…don’t you know he found himself gazing upon someone he had already seen countless times before.
It was the face of one…who had been with him throughout all of life’s storms. Who had assured him whenever he was afraid…and took him by the hand to lead him out of harm’s way. The same is true for us as well. If we can only find the courage to put our trust in the one who holds the future in his hands….then and only then will we be able to give back to God what God has already given to each one of us. It begins with a sense of belonging with someone much bigger than ourselves. Someone who cares about us as intimately as our own parents…and yet, allows us the freedom to make our own mistakes.
So that whether we find ourselves drawn out on a limb with no way to get down….or up on a slide and scared to death to make a move...sooner or later, there will be one question left to ask the one to whom Jesus prayed:
“Daddy…will you catch me?”
To which our Lord will most certainly reply:
“Yes…child….I’ll catch you.”
Leaving us to trust…he’ll be there to catch us....all of us….for a very long time. Amen