Sermon: Blind

lightsMy dad lives down in Dallas and it was several years ago that he had a stroke. Upon hearing the news, I was desperate to get to him, but the family that is there and the doctors said to wait, “Let’s see how he comes out of it,” then” “Let’s see how he does in physical therapy,” and so on. It was about two months from the time he had the stroke until the time I got to go down, but finally the day arrived. I flew out of Missoula with a lay over in Denver. It takes a good part of the day to get there, so during my layover in Denver I order a nice big Starbucks coffee. Half way through the flight its pit stop time, but because of bad turbulence, they weren’t letting anyone get up. An hour later we land in Dallas and I have reached the point of pure desperation.

I get off the plane, head down the concourse, and as luck would have it, the only bathroom on it is closed for cleaning. I head down to baggage claim and am frantically looking back and forth, when about two feet from me I hear somebody say, “Looking for someone?” It was my Dad! For several months I had been wanting to see him, to visit, to find out that he was OK, but I got so caught up in what I was doing – what I was looking for – that I literally ran into him without even noticing he was there!

Professor Arthur Zajoc writes of studies which investigated recovery from congenital blindness. Thanks to cornea transplants, people who had been blind from birth would suddenly have functional use of their eyes. Nevertheless, success was rare. Referring to one young boy, he writes, “the world does not appear to the patient as filled with the gifts of intelligible light, color, and shape upon awakening from surgery.” Light and eyes were not enough to grant the patient sight. “The light of day beckoned, but no light of mind replied within the boy’s anxious, open eyes.”

Zajoc quotes from a study by a Dr. Moreau who observed that while surgery gave the patient the “power to see,” “the employment of this power, which as a whole constitutes the act of seeing, still has to be acquired from the beginning.” Dr. Moreau concludes, “To give back sight to a congenitally blind person is more the work of an educator than of a surgeon.” To which Zajoc adds, “The sober truth remains that vision requires far more than a functioning physical organ. Without an inner light, without a formative visual imagination, we are blind,” he explains. That “inner light” — the light of the mind — “must flow into and marry with the light of nature to bring forth a world.”

Today in our Gospel reading, speaking of the Pharisees, Jesus says, “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” They are are the blind leading the blind.

So often that is true. Someone follows another who in turn has absolutely no idea where they are going or what they are doing and so they both fail. However, I believe the one who leads us astray most often is ourselves. We get so focused on what we are looking for that we fail to even notice those things that God would have us focus on. To borrow the words of Professor Zajoc, we need that “inner light,” but in this case the light we require is that of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”

Pray that the Lord will fill you more completely with the Spirit of Truth so that you might more clearly discern His will.

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