"Once Was Blind; now I see!" ... What's Your Story?

By Bob Stains

"Once I was blind; now I see!" So said "the man born blind" in John 9. It's a great story. A beggar blind from birth who, with his parents, is suspected of having committed some sin that caused his blindness.

Jesus has a different idea about the man. He sees him as he could be -- whole -- and He heals him. He says he's come to bring light to the world. Spits on the ground, makes mud, puts it on the man's eyes and tells him to wash it off in the Pool of Siloam. When he does, he can see for the first time: the light flows through him.

Can you imagine how he felt? Can you see him shouting and leaping; laughing with tears at seeing his parents for the first time; running about and inspecting every last thing for color, shape, texture and movement?  See his parents fall on their knees, weeping with gratitude, hugging Jesus' legs? And there's Jesus smiling, happy with the healing.  

And, later, the Pharisees. They encounter a man they've gotten used to calling "the blind beggar." Who now sees and no longer begs, who has been "born again" into a new life of sight and agency.

Ashen they are, then red-faced with rage. How dare this itinerant peasant -- this Jesus fellow-- break the Sabbath and heal without "going through the proper channels!" And they grill the poor guy who's just gotten his sight back: "Who healed you? Was he a sinner?" And, I love his response, after he castigates them for being so thick: "I know not if he was a sinner. All I know is that once I was blind, now I see." Boom!

Easter is coming, the time when many of us will be welcoming new people into the church and perhaps helping them realize how much God loves them. A time when we decide whether, how, and how much to tell our stories of Jesus' touch in our lives.

People come seeking, looking for stories of transformation -- evidence for hope -- not propositional truths. Our stories are powerful. But how can we tell them in respectful ways? 

The John 9 story about the man I prefer to call "The Healed Man" immediately comes to mind. Message: our stories of healing and resurrection don't have to be long, complex, flowery, intentionally persuasive. In fact it's better if they're not. The Healed Man's story is elegant and powerful in its simplicity: "Once I was blind, now I see." Ours can be, too.

Whether you're interested in sharing it with others or just pondering it for your own meditation, I encourage you to take "The Four-sentence Challenge:" pick an experience of God's action in your life. Write it out and then boil it down to its essence in four sentences:

1. Where/how you were in need ("I was blind")
2. What God did/how you were touched ("He put mud on my eyes.")
3. What changed for you ("Now I see.")
4. How being at All Saints helps you.

Jesus brought light into the life of the Healed Man, his parents and to us. We have the privilege of sharing that light through the stories we tell, helping others open to the love that's waiting for them.


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