Holy Manna: March 21, 2023

Holy Manna: A Lenten Devotional for St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Read: John 9:1-41

Years ago, a priest at Christ Church, Anacortes, related a true story that he had heard from a chaplain. I don’t remember it in detail, but the gist of it was this. A man was admitted to a hospital with terminal cancer. He was a white racist. One of the attending nurses was a Christian man, who happened to be Black. Over time they began to talk and share stories. Eventually, the racist’s beliefs changed. As the end of life neared, the chaplain returned and saw the man smiling. In response to the chaplain’s surprise, the man said, “I’m cured! Oh, the cancer will kill me, but I’m cured!” Sometimes our worst illness is not what we think it is, but healing happens, nonetheless.

The healing of the blind man didn’t bring rejoicing in the town. Too bad it happened on Sabbath. The Pharisees might have cut Jesus some slack if it happened on a weekday. Did they forget who created Sabbath and why? Jesus said Sabbath was made for man, so he raised this man from a street beggar to a man with a full life, by giving him sight. The man could have lived out his days as a blind beggar sitting by the road. But the one who sent Jesus chose to dramatize his redemptive power. God could and would call his people out of darkness into light.

The Pharisees refuse to accept that Jesus is godly and question his authority. The man, simple and uneducated, knows better. He doesn’t ask why or how, but he knows what he knows; he was blind and now he sees. His resolve is unshaken even when the Pharisees eject him from the Temple. With his new sight, he can freely and independently go anywhere he chooses. He chooses to follow Jesus. His conversion is complete. The Pharisees, certain of their own righteousness, remain in the dark.

Gracious God, open my eyes to see your presence in the world. Turn my heart to follow Jesus wherever he goes, not blindly but with both eyes open, trusting him to lead me to you. Amen.
-Carol Treston