Fourth Sunday in Lent by The Rev. Martin Elfert

March 22, 2020

 

Lessons:

1 Samuel 16:1-13

Ephesians 5:8-14

John 9:1-41

Psalm 23

 

Click here to watch and listen to the sermon.

 

Jesus heard that they had driven the man out, and when Jesus found him, he said,

Do you believe in the Son of Man?

The man answered,

And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.

Jesus said to him,

You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.

He said,

Lord,

I believe.

This year in Lent, the lectionary – the schedule of readings that we follow across the year – gives us a series of questions posed to Jesus. Two weeks ago, Nicodemus came to Jesus in the dark, in the night, and asked:

How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?

One week ago, the unnamed woman at the well came to Jesus in the day, at high noon when there is most light, and asked:

Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?

Next week, as Jesus gets ready to go to Bethany, where Mary and Martha and Lazarus in his tomb await, the disciples will ask Jesus:

Rabbi, the crowd was just now trying to stone you. And are you going there again?

 And today, the disciples ask a question with which you and I may be familiar:

Whose fault is it?

Whose fault is it? being an ancient question, a question as old as human beings and as old as language. This time, whose fault is it? takes the form of a question about theology and about disability:

Who sinned? This man or his parents, that he was born blind?

Given that whose fault is it? is an ancient question, given that it is wired into the human condition, I’m going to venture that every one of us knows a bunch about this question, that every one of us has asked it more than once.

I grew up in Canada and, therefore, I am constitutionally required to dream of playing professional hockey. Whose fault is it that I have neither the skill not the physique for that dream to ever come true? I spent high school secretly in love with Christy Crookall. Whose fault is it that we never went out on a date? (Well, maybe that’s a bad example. I have some idea whose fault that is.) When I started as Grace’s Rector almost five years ago, I thought that I would have access to all of these mentors, all of these elders who had been in my life for years and who had shared their wisdom and experience with me for years. But then one after another of them died: my friend Chris; my father-in-law, Bob; my teacher, Don. Whose fault it is that they died?

Or to choose the example that we are, all of us, living right now: Whose fault is it that we are enduring a global pandemic?

The disciples come to Jesus and they ask: Whose fault is it? Who sinned? And Jesus says:

Nobody sinned. Neither the man nor his parents.

And then having answered the question in with these words, Jesus goes on. He says something more and he does something more. He says:

The man was born blind so that God’s work might be revealed in him.

And then in a startlingly intimate gesture, one that is probably shocking in our regular, 21st-Century understanding of germ theory and that is especially shocking during these days of social distancing, Jesus makes a paste out of dirt and his own spit and massages it with his fingers onto the man’s eye. Go and wash, he says (just like past two weeks, here is water: remember Nicodemus and the water of birth, remember the Woman and the water in the well) and when the man comes back, he can see.

The end. And they lived happily ever after.

Except that isn’t the end. Unlike the Gospel of Mark, where the story tends to move on from miracle to miracle in an almost breathless way, John keeps the camera lingering on this scene. And as John does, we see that the follow-up to the man’s healing is hardship, it is scepticism and accusation. The man gets cross examined, his parents get cross examined. The religious authorities can’t believe or, maybe, they can’t tolerate that Jesus has performed an unscheduled and unauthorized miracle.

Even though there is healing, even though Jesus is present, brokenness and hurt remain. Jesus gives us something more difficult and more complicated than a happy ending.

What if.

What if we decide that this story is about us right now? We come to Jesus, and we say:

Whose fault is it?

Who sinned that there is a pandemic rewriting our economy and our lives?

And Jesus replies:

Nobody sinned. Not you, not your parents. This happened so that God’s work might be revealed.

And then he heals us.

And then, notwithstanding the revelation and the healing, things stay difficult and complicated.

What might that mean? How might that be good news?

Now, two caveats before I go on. First, there is no question that there are things our leaders could have done better, things that we as a society could be doing better right now. Our response has been too blasé and too selfish for too long. For five Senators to be briefed on COVID-19 and to use that information to sell their personal stocks – well, that is pathetic and selfish and unethical in equal measure.

Second, I don’t want to suggest that God caused this pandemic, that God dropped COVID-19 upon us like frogs onto Egypt. God does not introduce suffering into our lives. But, as Richard Rohr said just a couple of days ago, I am convinced that God does use our suffering to teach us.

Those two caveats named, this whole thing is no one’s fault. As far as we know, there is no Pandora who found a can labelled COVID-19 with big red letters on the top that read, Do not open, and said to herself: I wonder what happens if I open this?

Nobody sinned, not you nor your parents.

Here is how, maybe, Jesus is healing us and will heal us, how God’s work is and will be revealed in this time of crisis, and how things will remain messy and complicated anyway. I’m going to focus on five heavily overlapping categories. Let’s call them justice, humility, lament, community, and sabbath.

Justice. As with so many crises – think of the hurricane that hit New Orleans fifteen years ago – the crisis that is COVID-19 is most magnified for those whom Jesus calls the least of these, our siblings. To have access to health care is a privilege. To have the kind of job, as I do, in which working remotely is possible is a privilege. To have a home and to be able to stay in it when I feel sick is a privilege. Many people have few or none of those privileges. And one of my hopes for this time is that we will remember our duty – and duty is an old-fashioned word, but it’s the one that fits right now – to those with few or no privileges.

I am enormously encouraged that, after being stalled out for 16 years, the federal government has passed legislation mandating sick leave for employees. Now, those who study legislation say that it doesn’t go far enough, that there are too many exceptions. But it remains a meaningful step closer to justice. And even if you don’t particularly care about justice, it remains a meaningful step closer to a less icky world. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be at a restaurant in which the chef is there and cooking even though they have a gastrointestinal complaint because they can’t afford to stay home.

In a similar vein, I am so heartened by the sudden and radical reduction in pollution above the factories of China, a change that we might call justice for God’s creation. What if this whole thing were a reset button and we decided that we didn’t want to go back to frantic pollution? What if this whole thing were an invitation into deeper justice, into remembering the dignity of every human being and of all creation?

Humility. As Paul famously says, there is a deep temptation to look upon those outside of our family or city or state or country, maybe even those outside of ourselves, those who aren’t me, and say to them:

I have no need of you.

I can do everything I need on my own. And by that what we generally mean is that there is credit limit enough on our Mastercards to pay our bills. And so we move through the world a little bit like gods, independent and in no way interdependent, in no way reliant on one another or on God.

A crisis like this one reveals that such a story was always high fiction, that autonomous individualism was always a God damn lie. We are here for our sojourn on this earth thanks to God’s pleasure and thanks to the cooperation and support and generosity and kindness of our neighbors.

May we humble enough to recognise that and say thanks for that.

Lament. We live in a culture that is profoundly uncomfortable with grief. That is in a mad hurry to get over loss, to get back to mandatory optimism. And there is a huge cost to living in this way. We are deprived the gifts of grief.

Our own John Hammond, who is one of the kindest and happiest and most loving people I know, describes himself as being in an apprenticeship with grief. I want to suggest that his apprenticeship correlates heavily with his kindness and his happiness and his loving nature. By giving full expression to his tears, John is able to give full expression to his joy. The two: they are inseparable. Grief is the price of admission for love.

The ancients new this. A full third of the psalms are psalms of lament. These are psalms in which people of deep, deep faith say: why? Why is the world like this? Why, God, aren’t you doing your job? What if we could express that kind of lamentation? Maybe we might discover a little bit of the joy that John knows.

Community. And this one overlaps pretty heavily with justice and humility – what if we rediscovered that we live in neighbourhoods? What if we rediscovered our vocations as neighbours? Here at Grace, we have created Circles of Caring, inviting us into to stay in community and to move deeper into community as we weather this storm. It is my hope that some of the friendships that we discover during this crisis will remain come its conclusion. And where we live, what if we found deeper relationship with the people who live next door and down the street? What if, both inside and outside of church, we asked the questions that my colleague Alissa Newton crafted and that Jeanne shared with us this past week:

  • How is the Physical Health of your Household? 
  • How is the Mental Health of your Household? 
  • What do you need? 
  • What can you offer? 

 

Sabbath. There is a beautiful poem that more than one of you have sent my way. It is by Lynn Ungar and it is called Pandemic. It begins this way:

What if you thought of it as the Jews
consider the Sabbath— the most sacred of
times?

I’ve lost track of how many people have told me across the years that some unwelcome and unchosen event – a car accident, an illness, a job loss, some other tragedy – was the first time that they had slowed down in years. I didn’t want it to happen, they say, I wish it hadn’t happened, but in a funny way, that time in the hospital bed was a gift. I was still enough, silent enough to understand things about myself and about the world andabout God.

What if this unwelcome and unchosen event were something that kind of gift, if it were something like a sabbath for our whole culture? An opportunity to be still and to know God?

So: justice, humility, lament, community, and sabbath. Five ways, maybe, that Jesus is healing us and that Jesus will heal us. Five ways, maybe, that God’s work is being and will be revealed. The messiness remains, the hurt remains. But even in Lent, Alleluia, Jesus is in the middle of it. Even in Lent, we kneel before him and say, Lord, I believe.

 

Fourth Sunday in Lent by The Rev. Martin Elfert

 

March 11, 2018

Lessons:

Numbers 21:4-9

Ephesians 2:1-10

John 3:14-21

Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22

Are there times when a poison is its own cure?

Today we hear the story of Moses and the people of Israel meeting snakes in the wilderness. It is an extraordinary story, a weird story, and yet somehow a powerful story. With Moses’ help, with God’s help, Israel has escaped from slavery in Egypt. And as sometimes happens, the glow of freedom is fading. Like a young person who has moved out of their parents’ home and, after a week of saying, “I’m free – I can do whatever I want!” they are now beginning to grumble and say, “I’m lonely, and no one seems to be washing the dishes.”

They start to complain. They say to Moses:

Why?

Why have you brought us out Egypt to die in the wilderness?

There is no food and no water and we hate the food.

(That is a line that suggests to me that the comedy of scripture is underappreciated.)

It is shortly after the people pose this question that the snakes show up.

Now, somewhere along the way, when folks first started telling this tale around the campfire, it became part of the story that God sent the snakes to bite the people, that God sent the serpents to teach an ungrateful people a lesson. I don’t know if I think that God does that sort of thing, but I admit that I kind of love this element of folk-tale comeuppance. There is something satisfying about the kind of Brothers Grimm slapstick justice: here is an echo of the guy who in boastfully announces that he is invulnerable and then is promptly crushed by a falling piano.

Regardless of why it happens, the snakes are here. And the people are soon dancing around in pain and grabbing their freshly bitten ankles, more than one of them falling over dead, X’s drawn over their lifeless eyes.

They turn to Moses and say, “help us.”

And Moses, who probably could be forgiven for celebrating this development –after all, the people of Israel can be pretty obnoxious – jumps into action. He resumes his ongoing conversation with God, he prays to God. And God tells him what to do:

Make a serpent. Put it on a pole. And then have everyone look at it. They will be cured.

Moses digs out the collection of bronze and his hammer and his fire and he gets to work. He puts the serpent on the pole and, the people look at it.

And they live.

The poison is its own cure.

Now, if you have ever taken a course on classical literature and mythology, then you may be noticing right now that there are echoes in this story of the Ancient Greek god Asclepius, the god of medicine, whose symbol is a pole with a serpent wrapped around it. (The pole and the serpent remains the symbol for medicine to this day.) Somehow across the Ancient World, there is this notion that if you have been hurt by a snake, you need to encounter a snake. There is this notion that drawing near to the thing that hurt you (or at a minimum to a safe or symbolic version of the thing that hurt you), is what is going to make you well.

And maybe that sounds odd until we remember that this notion of a poison being its own cure is not confined to the Ancient World. The famous and suspicious home remedy that involves trying to cure a hangover by consuming some of “the hair of the dog that bit you” – in other words, by getting up in the morning and drinking more alcohol – is an identical strategy. Or if you prefer a more evidence-based, or at least a more sensible, perspective on reality, consider what a vaccination is: a vaccine is a sterilized version of the very disease that it protects us against. I understand that a lot of anti-allergy medications are manufactured in a similar way.

And speaking of snakes: we cure the poison from snakebites by administering an anti-venom which is made out of… snake venom. (You may have seen a nature show in which one of those somewhat misguided animal experts wearing khaki shorts “milks” a snake to get venom out of it.)

Similarly, the psychological notion of exposure therapy is about doing the thing that you fear: if you are afraid of heights, go climb a ladder; if you are afraid of looking silly, go out in public wearing a goofy outfit; if you are afraid of rejection, give people opportunities to say “no” to you. This is the very thing that your Mom or your Dad told you when you were learning to ride a bike and you had your first really good crash: get back on, start riding again. This is what is going to let you test your limits, to grow.

Two weeks ago, Corbet shared an amazing sermon with us about resiliency. And the notion that the poison is sometimes its own cure is related to what he shared with us. Corbet talked about the research that says that resilient people have a vigorous support network, are able to reframe the stories of the things that hurt them in a way that gives them meaning, and they are adaptable. It is adaptability that we are talking about today. When we encounter the poison in a symbolic or safe way it frees us up to walk through the world with greater freedom.

Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be safe. There is fascinating research that says that children who have had a significant fall – say out of a tree – are actually less afraid of heights than those who have never had such a fall. That is the opposite of what you might expect. My guess is that what the research suggests is that the opportunity to test our limits – to get hurt and say, “that was bad, but I was able to survive it” – invites us into resiliency. That’s an important and hard lesson for those of us who are charged with the care of children. We have an instinct to protect our children from as much hurt as possible. But if we get carried away, we may end up inadvertently nurturing brittle people.

There are, of course, real and significant limits to a poison being its own cure. If you have a hematoma under one of your fingernails, you aren’t going to make it better by whacking it a second time with a hammer. If you are afraid of cars, the solution is not to run back and forth across the I-5.

Could we think of building the bronze serpent as a parable? A parable about appropriately and generatively engaging with the poison that has hurt us.

Three things happen when we follow the example of Moses’ parable. First, we name our pain out loud. Second, we allow the possibility that our hurt might have something to teach us. And third, we open ourselves to the presence of God in our hurt.

I’d like to spend a little time with all three.

First, naming. As Moses creates the serpent, he says: This is the thing that hurt you. He names that out loud.

There is something powerful and insidious about unhealthy secrets. They can end up having this huge gravitational pull over our lives. There is a reason that, in the Harry Potter books, Harry and Dumbledore refuse to participate in the practice of not saying Voldermort’s name. They are unwilling to give him that kind of power.

My cousin Mike – this is a sad story with a happy ending – was a closeted gay man well into his forties. (This was not 50 years ago: this was in the early teens of the 21st Century.) My read is that Mike had a story that his Dad, my Uncle, could not handle hearing the truth about Mike’s sexuality; that his Dad would blow up or disown him, that the news would kill him. Mike had a partner he had been with for 18 years. And his partner was never mentioned in the Christmas letter, never at a family gathering.

I don’t know what happened. But Mike – maybe with his partner’s help, maybe with his community’s help – found the permission to come out late in his Dad’s life. There was recently on Facebook a photo of Mike and his partner and his Dad and their whole family. It was a glimpse of the Kingdom, of what can happen through naming.

On a justice front, something similar is happening right with now with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. This is about what happens when people have the courage to name something. A year ago, it was an accepted and immutable fact that Harvey Weinstein was untouchable. And then some courageous women named his behaviour. And that changed reality.

It’s a big deal to name hurt out loud.

Naming leads us into learning. Vaccination, which we talked about earlier, is about allowing your immune system to learn from an illness, to become resilient. Our hurts, if we allow them, give us a similar opportunity.

I want to be careful here. Because I don’t want to get into a facile theology in which everything happens for a reason and God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Those are problematic statements; they are often more about consoling the person speaking than consoling the person who is in pain.

What I am trying to get at belongs more to the realm of paradox. I think about certain griefs, certain hurts in my own life. This is stuff that I didn’t want to happen, stuff that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

And

Somehow if I know anything about compassion it is because these things happened. Somehow if I know anything about justice it is because these things happened.

I have, as I’ve told you before, lost track of how many people have said to me: the time after the car accident was a spiritual awakening for me; the time after I got sick was a spiritual awakening for me; the time during my divorce was a spiritual awakening for me. Even though I didn’t want this thing to happen, it allowed me to understand something about myself, about my neighbour, about God.

I we allow them, our hurts will be our teachers.

Last, as the people look at the serpent on the stick, they are invited to see God in their hurt, to recognise that God is present in their woundedness. I don’t mean that God is responsible for their woundedness, that God sent the snakes (although that is a way of reading this story). Rather, I mean that they are invited to see that God shares in the pain.

My guess is that this is why John draws on the imagine of the snake on the pole when talking about Jesus on the cross. The message of the cross is that God endures and accepts the worst kind of violence and humiliation. And because of that, we are able to say that God shares with us in our suffering. There is no pain or lostness so great that we cannot say to God: You know what this is like.

If indeed we can read the story of the snake on the pole as a parable about naming, learning, and seeing God in hurt, then the question for you and me is:

What are the serpents that have bitten you and me?

We all come here wounded. We all come here wounded by trauma, grief, by an experience of unfairness – the list goes on. What would happen if we were to name these things, to learn from them, to see God in them?

We might be able to look at the serpent on the pole, to look at Jesus on the cross, and live.

Fourth Sunday in Lent by The Rev. Martin Elfert

Lessons:
Genesis 12:1-4a
Psalm 121
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
John 3:1-17

 

This is the second of three Sundays on which we encounter a reading from the Gospel of John that the church has long associated with Lent and, in particular, that the church has long associated with the catechumenate: with that period of preparation for baptism or, if you are already baptised, with that period of deepening our encounter with God and with neighbour. This trio of readings began last week with Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well, they continue this week with Jesus healing the man born blind, and they wrap up next week with the raising of Lazarus.

The Johannine scholar, Sandra Schneiders, whose work has profoundly shaped my understanding of the Gospel of John and, in particular, whose work has profoundly shaped what I am going to share with you this morning, describes these three readings as Archetypal New Testament stories, each of which could be synopsised with a single word. As Jesus comes to the well, we discover Water. As Jesus heals the blind man, we discover Light. As Jesus raises Lazarus, we encounter Life.

Water, Life, and Light.

These three, Water, Life, and Light are the central images of baptism – Schneiders suggests that we could also express them as Washing, Illumination, and finally Initiation into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Today we sit with the middle of these three stories: Light or Illumination or, if you prefer, just plain old Seeing. This is an unusual story within the Gospel of John insofar as it has parallels in the Synoptic Gospels, in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Most of the time, the individual or the community that wrote the Gospel of John drew from its own tradition of stories about Jesus and, outside of the Passion narrative, that tradition doesn’t overlap a whole lot with the other three Gospels. Today’s story is among the exceptions to that rule. All four Gospels tell us about the healing of a blind person. John and Mark even share the extraordinarily earthy detail that Jesus heals the blind man by using his saliva, by pressing his spit into the man’s eyes.

Because of the shared nature of the story, we have the opportunity to do something that we don’t get to do all that often, and that is to contrast the themes that John underlines with the themes highlighted by Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Let’s begin with a question: what is the general structure of a healing miracle in the Synoptic Gospels? In broad terms (and there a lots of exceptions to this rule), we could say that these miracles tend to have four or five acts. First, someone in need of healing seeks out Jesus: the women with the hemorrhage grasps his garment; the man on the stretcher, with his friends’ help, gets lowered through the roof; the blind man – or, in some cases, the blind men – call out to Jesus, Have mercy on me! Second, Jesus heals the person or people, usually through physical touch, through his hands. (That part is the same as what happens in our story today.) Third, there is some kind of dialogue between Jesus and the healed person. Fourth, the gathered crowd is amazed. And fifth, Jesus will often tell the crowd or the healed person or the disciples to tell no one about what has happened.

Now consider today’s story.

Notice that the man whom Jesus heals does not call out to Jesus or seek Jesus. When the blind man or men call out to Jesus in the other stories, they inform those of us hearing the story that they know that Jesus heals, that they know who Jesus is. John’s blind man, by contrast, is almost passive in this interaction. Jesus is walking along the road. Jesus sees the blind man. And then Jesus initiates the healing. Both the seeing and the seeking, in other words, are reversed. The blind man – and this is one the many places in scripture where the boundary between the literal and the metaphorical vanishes – doesn’t see Jesus. That is a literal, physical reality: the man’s eyes don’t work, they haven’t since he was born. And nor does he see or understand Jesus spiritually. He begins the story blind in every sense.

Notice as well – and this is where I am going to spend some more time – the forensic or courtroom nature of John’s telling of this miracle. This reading is full of argument, some of it aggressive, most of it heavy with irony and double meaning. As soon as this passage begins, Jesus’ disciples present him with a theological question that borders on being a legal question: Whose fault is it that this man was born blind, the man or his parents? Jesus says that it neither he nor his parents are at fault. Then Jesus heals him. And the real argument begins.

The players in these arguments include the formerly blind man himself, the man’s neighbours, the man’s parents, the religious authorities, and finally Jesus himself. Even though everyone but Jesus and the healed man are part of a larger group, from a dramatic perspective there are never more than two characters on stage at any given time. That’s because the neighbours and the parents and the religious authorities all function in more or less the same way as Greek chorus: these groups speak together, there are no individuals whom we encounter. Each of them see – or not – in their own way.

The neighbours simply can’t believe what they have witnessed. At one level they see just fine: there is no question that the blind man is healed. But at another level, they don’t see at all. In a lot of ways, these folks are like many of us today: scepticism runs deep in our culture – we often speak of it as though it were a kind of intellectual virtue – and the upshot is that when we encounter something mysterious or miraculous we reflexively dismiss it. That just can’t be true. Even though the healed man is the same person whom the neighbours have know for years – his healing doesn’t change his appearance, after all – the neighbours say, “It can’t be him. It must be someone like him.”

The man’s parents cannot make a similar mistake or engage in a similar rationalisation – if you are a parent, there is no being unsure of whether or not someone is your child. The parents see that the miracle has happened but, because of their fear of the religious authorities (a fear that may be pretty darn reasonable – I want to be careful that we don’t get smug in our piety and judge these folks), they won’t name what they have seen out loud. When the religious authorities come to them, they say, “Go ask our son.”

And then there are the religious authorities and the healed man. These two characters (again, I’m conceptualising the authorities Greek chorus-style, so as effectively a single entity) have kind of mirror image one another over the course of the story. The man understands and articulates more and more about who Jesus is as the passage wears on: he initially refers to him as “the man called Jesus”; in his next conversation, he identifies Jesus as prophet; in his third conversation with the authorities he identifies Jesus as being from God; and in his final conversation – this one with Jesus himself – he sees. He confesses that Jesus is Lord and he worships him.

The religious authorities, by contrast, begin in a place wherein we might give them the benefit of the doubt, wherein we might assume that they are genuinely searching out the truth. But as the truth mounts, as the truth becomes increasingly incompatible with their world perspective, they become more and more hostile. When the man born blind proves to be an unsatisfactory witness – when he doesn’t give them the testimony that they want, the testimony that says Jesus is a charlatan or a phony – they declare the man to be a criminal himself, to be hopelessly lost in sin, and they drive him out.

Both the man and the religious authorities get a final conversation with Jesus. Jesus says to the one whom he has healed: you have seen. You have seen the Son of Man. By the story’s end, all of his blindness, real and metaphorical, is gone. He is healed in every way.

The religious authorities, by contrast, end in almost the opposite place. They had a glimpse of the truth, of the light. But they made a heroic effort to close their eyes. But John leaves a glimmer of hope at the story’s end. Because the authorities, at the very end, have this little burst of humility, this fleeting instant of holy doubt in which they say to Jesus:

We’re not blind –

Are we?

And the story ends with the possibility that they, too, will be healed. They too will see.

Jesus sometimes tells parables. And in encounters such as this one, he lives parables. This is a parable about how God sees us and seeks us. It declares the good news that, even when we can’t or won’t take a step towards God, even when we are resisting or rejecting God, God is still looking for us and loving us.

And this is a parable about seeing that, in a funny way, is also a parable about the necessity of becoming blind first. The religious authorities can’t see because they have convinced themselves that they have seen already. There is a cautionary tale here for all of us who spend a lot of time reading about Jesus and thinking about Jesus: we are always at risk of making Jesus into an object of study rather than someone with whom we have a lived encounter.

Somehow, in order to have the openness to meet Jesus, to be transformed by Jesus, to be healed by Jesus, we need to begin by acknowledging our blindness. We need to begin by acknowledging that we don’t see. Amazingly, it is in our blindness that Jesus seeks us, that Jesus touches us, that Jesus heals us. That Jesus leaves us blinking with surprise and wonder as, for the first time, we see the light of the Son.