Monday, April 4, 2011

The End of Silence

I'd like to claim that the nearly two months since my last post was intentional, perhaps the result of a decision to refrain from posting in order to spend more time in prayer. Not even close. It was simply a matter of getting distracted and not being sure that I had anything at all worth writing. And that hasn't changed much, but I am writing.

Yesterday my friend and colleague Paul preached about the healing of the man born blind in John 9. Part of what Paul said was that we don't get to see what lies ahead when we begin something new. Neither of us cold have known when we graduated from Episcopal Divinity School in 1972 where our work as priests would lead us. We couldn't see the creation of food pantries and soup kitchens and homeless shelters that would be part of each of our lives in very different communities. And, as he was preaching, I thought that it was probably a very good thing that we couldn't. Some of the things that we come to see we would not have been unable to handle earlier in our lives, especially things about ourselves. Some of the challenges that we took on would have been impossible tasks for us in our early years and it may be providential that we didn't those challenges when we were fresh out of EDS.

Something that Paul didn't talk about - or, at least, I didn't hear him - was something I find interesting about the story. After making a paste of dirt and saliva and spreading it on the man's eyes, Jesus sent him to wash in the pool of Siloam and the man "went and washed and came back able to see." There is so much that we don't see because we are unwilling or unable to look at things from a new perspective. When we are willing to move, to find a new vantage point, our blindness can be healed.

So much of Jesus' teaching involves challenges to our ways of seeing the world, challenges that are invitations to see the world and our place in it in new ways. We are far too often isolationist in our approach to the world, unwilling to see that our connections to people everywhere, and not only to people, but to all of creation. For those of us privileged to live comfortable North American lives, I think Jesus challenges us to see that our comfort has been purchased in some measure through the sufferings of underpaid workers in the two-thirds world, that our homes are heated and lighted at the expense of the earth itself.

Jesus does not lay on us a guilt trip, but challenges us to see the world in new ways and let that seeing be part of our transformation. And to let our transformation become part of the world's transformation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So when are you moving into a tenement in the poor areas of Boston? If you want to save energy, live like the poor. Otherwise, you're just preaching.
And we know nobody listens to that.