The repairman arrived at our condo, ready to replace the broken cord on our verticals, but the cord he brought was not the right one – so we are still struggling with opening and closing them on a daily basis. … Even though the number of hunters in our state keeps dropping every year, this is still the time of the year where every week I hear people discussing their blinds – anticipating a successful hunt from our ever-growing deer population. … “Two men followed Jesus, crying aloud, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David.’ Jesus touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith be it done to you.’ And their eyes were opened.” (Matthew 9.27-30) What do you think of when you read the word “blinds”?
My mind goes to hidden things … like the insides of our condo from the sun and neighbors passing by … or hunters from the naive buck … or many of the wonders of creation from the visually impaired. But are all blinds physical? Or is there something that causes God to be a ‘hidden thing’ to many?
Whenever I see someone approaching with a white cane, three thoughts come to my mind: 1st – I wonder what I should do to not impede their progress. 2nd – I marvel at their ability to navigate the terrain and surroundings. 3rd – I think of all the things they are missing out on because they cannot see. My heart breaks as I think of how they cannot enjoy the beauty of a sunset or the beaming face of a child.
However, my heartbreak is even greater for those who cannot see the wonders of God at work in our world. John describes things this way, “The true light which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” (John 1.9-10) In the Old Testament God promises, “I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42.6-7) In the midst of our world of turmoil, this promise stands. Jesus is here to rescue all who are imprisoned by fear, anger, or hate … all symptoms of a visual impairment of the soul.
Our office manager is having her second round of cataract surgery on Monday. While she is seeing better after her first surgery, she is really looking forward to life after the second. Are you acquainted with the story of Jesus healing a blind man in Mark 8? “When Jesus laid his hands on him, he asked him, ‘Do you see anything?’ He looked up and said, ‘I see people, but they look like trees, walking.’ Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” (Mark 8.23-26) While I doubt that anyone would recommend to Linda that she skip her second eye procedure, our world is filled with many people choosing to receive only partial sight from Jesus.
They may have been baptized, or perhaps have learned some of the Gospel story, but many of the blessings of God are still hidden from their sight. And, because they are not living daily in the promises of Jesus, they “see people, but they look like trees, walking.” This is just a polite way of saying their lives remain stymied with fear or shame, anger or hate, because of their decision to walk away from the healing touch of Jesus as he reaches out to them in word and sacrament.
To all who are choosing to continue living in the blinds, I echo the words of St. Paul, “I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you … that your hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2.1-3).
At Heartland there is a blind horse, but he is not dumb. He knows that, since he cannot see his own way, as long as he stays close to a certain horse he can trust, he will be safe. I, too, am blind in regard to seeing into the future. So, like the horse on Heartland, I try to stick close to the one who is more trustworthy than any other – Jesus. His word frees me from fear and shame, anger and hate … and blinds me from many other things that I really don’t need in my life