2/3/19 – I can see clearly now

Posted on : Jan 31st, 2019 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

“When did you know?” – that’s a question about self-awareness that gets asked by a lot of people, especially people who are different from the majority.  “When did you know you were gay?” and “When did you come out?” are pretty standard conversation topics among gay and lesbian folk.  Most heterosexual folks don’t ask when they knew they were heterosexual. 

“When did you know that the gender that was assigned to you at birth isn’t the gender you know yourself to be?” is a pretty common topic among transgender folks.  Most cisgender folks don’t ask that question about their gender.

“When did you know your race was different from the dominant Caucasian race in America?”  That’s a question almost every person of color asks other persons of color. 

From the time I was born until second grade, I lived my life like any other kid.  In first grade, I started having difficulty learning.  By second grade, they were about to label me “learning disabled.”  And then one day, we were marched down to the nurse’s office and introduced to the “E” eye chart. 

“Which way is the “E” facing?  Let’s start with the top row,” said the nurse.  I made it through the first two rows, the rest was all a blur.  The nurse called my mother and told her I needed to be examined by an optometrist and probably needed glasses.  I had flunked the vision test.

The optometrist confirmed that I needed glasses, wrote the prescription and sent me to the optical store to pick out a pair of frames for what would be my new glasses.  I clearly remember the Optometrist saying to my mother, “Mrs. Smith, young boys break their glasses all the time, so I suggest you not buy very expensive frames for him.” 

I also remember as if it was yesterday, going back to the optometrist and getting my new glasses.  After making a few minor adjustments so they would fit my face, he said, “Now look out the store window and read the sign across the street.”  I was jubilant.  For the first time in my life, I actually saw things clearly!  The optician gave my mom the second “parent’s warning” not to be too worried if I broke the frames, and that it was especially hard to get boys to wear their glasses.  I proved him wrong on both counts.

Someone once asked me why I didn’t say something to someone.  The answer is, because I didn’t know I couldn’t see.  My vision must have been poor from birth. 

All of us are born with our own blindness, our own inability to see clearly.  It takes coming of age, and often the help of others, to help us see clearly.  So, it shouldn’t be of any great surprise, that of all the healing stories in the Bible, the most common stories are of Jesus helping us regain our sight, our vision, our ability to see clearly.  And I have a sure feeling that these healing stories are not all about physical blindness!

“See” you this Sunday.



John 9: 1-12

Jesus heals a man born blind and his disciples question whose fault it was that this man was blind.

As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When Jesus had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then the man went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before begging began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”


Mark 10:46-52

Jesus heals Bartimaeus who was blind and had no other economic option than to beg for money.

They came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.






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