This is the sermon the Rev. Bill Stanford, rector of St. Christopher, Fort Worth, preached Sunday, March 22, 2020.
Sermon for Fourth Sunday in Lent
Fr. Bill Stanford
March 22, 2020
We are blind right now. Or at least visually impaired when it comes to being able to see what is in store for us. And at first sight, pardon the pun, that seems like a pretty bad thing.
Perhaps a better way to put it is that ever-changing new realities are making us realize how blind we have been.
Sight and light and darkness are themes in our readings from the Old Testament and the Gospel.
Samuel the prophet is told to go to Jesse’s house in Bethlehem. He is to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to replace Saul, the present king who has lost favor with God.
He sees the first son who is tall and good looking, but God says to Him, “I don’t go by looks, but by the heart.” Samuel’s sight, though his eyes are open, fails him. All of David’s older brothers are brought before him, and none are chosen.
The one that God chooses is a kid out of breath, summoned from tending sheep, and probably a little aromatic. This doesn’t look like a king, but, OK.
The times we are in don’t look like anything good could come out of them. Let me be clear – I am not of the mind that God has inflicted any of this on us. It is simply a reality of life that there are good bugs and there are bad bugs. And this bug is a very naughty bug.
It is our calling as followers of Christ to respond creatively, peacefully, willingly when things don’t look like they will work. I’m sure that Samuel walked away from Jesse’s house saying, “Lord, I don’t see how this is going to work.”
I know that Jesse and David’s seven older brothers were like, “Whaaaat?”
We don’t have to see how this is all going to work. In fact, if we did, we’d probably mess it up. God walks us through all this day by day, opening our eyes to what we need to see for the next step.
In today’s Gospel, I was struck by the fact that Jesus put mud on the man’s eyes and told him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam.” Wait, the man is blind. What a walk that must have been.
We are walking to Siloam right now with mud smeared eyes, unsteady, and unsure. But we are walking. And in walking, we believe.
The hardest work we will do in the coming days is to make room for the Holy Spirit by walking, however unsteadily, by praying daily, and letting go of how we think things should be. Open our eyes O Lord.
And grant us your salvation.