Lenten season

Fourth Sunday In Lent Lessons and Brief Meditation

FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT / 03-22-2020

FIRST READING:  1 Samuel 16:1-13   [“… for the Lord does not see as mortals see.”]

The prophet Samuel anointed David even though he was the eighth-oldest son of Jesse and did not match his brothers in height or other physical characteristics. With the anointing came endowment with the spirit of the Lord, designating David as the Lord’s chosen successor to David. God chooses by different standards! Who are the “least likely” in your life’s journey or in this world that God has called?

PSALM:  Psalm 23   [“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”] 

Is there any psalm as familiar and beloved as Psalm 23? The beloved shepherd leads and guides, nurtures and calms, protects and restores, anoints and loves his sheep, both now and into forever. When have you experienced the presence, the peace, the power, the promises of Jesus with you in life’s journey and shadows?

SECOND READING:  Ephesians 5:8-14   [“Once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light.”]

Paul is appealing to his readers to live in a way that is consistent with their changed life situation. Because we now live in the divine light which is Jesus Christ, we conduct our lives in ways that reflect the light of Christ, so that our activity is truly pleasing to God. By God’s grace, we are forgiven and set free to love one another without any concern over gaining our own salvation through good works. How can we learn what pleases God?

GOSPEL READING:   John 9:1-41 [“…though I was blind, now I see.”]

Jesus heals a man born blind, provoking questions, confusion, and a hostile reaction. In the drama of this chapter, Jesus dismissed the old idea that the man’s blindness was caused either by that man’s own sin before he was born or by his parents’ sin. Jesus did not think in traditional terms of some evil act for which the man was punished. As the chapter unfolds, we can’t help but notice how that blind man is healed and seeing more and more, while the religious authorities see less and less. They are victims of their own theology. John 9 begins with a miracle of healing from physical blindness but continues and concludes with a meditation on the blindness of sin.

A BRIEF MEDITATION

“Here’s mud in your eye!” Jesus has concern about the health of human bodies and the health of human souls. Thus he will bring sight to a man born blind and also help self-righteous Pharisees see their inner blindness. Surely we are not blind, are we? We all have our blind spots. Blindness means different things to different people, but it means something to everyone. While only some people experience physical blindness, everyone has moments in which we struggle to discover a truth or to see a bigger picture, as well as moments of realization or revelation or recognition or sudden remembrance – moments when we say, “NOW I see.” Jesus is the Light of the world. Today our Savior spits love into our eyes and our lives to clear the filth out of our minds and our hearts. Jesus does not only help us to see our sin-sick nature and to see our blindness caused by trivial pursuits, rigid convictions, and unloving hearts… he also shines forth in the shadows as our path and our assurance of salvation. Today there is healing and restoration, liberation and new vision. But if you prefer the night…

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