In today’s gospel reading (Mark 10:46-52), Jesus heals a blind man. Of course, while that is a rather remarkable display of power; for those of us who are accustomed to reading and hearing about the miracles of Jesus, it hardly seems unusual. And yet, if I remember my seminary study of Mark’s gospel correctly, what’s happening here is “more than meets the eye” (if you’ll excuse my pun).
The healing that takes place in Mark 10 is actually the second healing of a blind man that we find in Mark’s gospel — the first coming in chapter 8. And in between these two miracles, Jesus returns again and again to the issue of his imminent and sacrificial death — teaching his disciples that this is not only what it means to be the Messiah, but this is also what it means to follow the Messiah. It’s almost as though the very structure of the gospel puts a question before us: Can we “see” the life of self-giving love and service to which we’re called…or will we remain in our blindness?
This seems to me to be a particularly relevant question for our Christian communities in America these days. I won’t dive into the politics of it all — even though I probably should — because it’s hard for me to fathom how people can claim to love and obey a refugee, immigrant, Palestinian Jew who commanded us to lay down our lives for others and then turn around and show hatred and contempt for persons of different races, nationalities, and ethnicities. But even where we have differences over the potentially legitimate issues that do exist, the way in which we treat each other while we sort things out speaks volumes about how well we’ve “seen” the kingdom hope that Jesus came to give. Sadly, it seems that there are too many Christians this past week who have spoken of others in ways that are unworthy of that name. And as a result, we end up deepening the darkness rather than placing the Light on a stand for all to see.
Of course, even as I write these words, I acknowledge that the real challenge is “seeing” and acknowledging the blindness in me. There is not one of us who is wholly righteous, and that includes this pastor.
So even as I pray for more Light and more “vision” to bring healing to the unique blindness of this time, I must also pray that God will show me my blindness…and heal me, too.
In our gospel lesson today, Jesus said: “Go, your faith has healed you.” And immediately, we’re told, the blind mind followed Jesus along the road. May we, too, see and follow – as we receive light from the One who is Light.