4th Sunday in Lent—Year A—March 30, 2014

4th Sunday in Lent—Year A—March 30, 2014

Preached at the Lutheran Church of Framingham

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight oh Lord, our strength, and our redeemer.

“The LORD does not see as mortals see” (1 Samuel 16:7, NRSV)

            In the 1st century, people saw any “disability” or physical difference as a result, really punishment, for sin…of the person or their parents.

If you were blind, deaf, dumb, or lame, you were confined to a life apart…apart from regular society (not as much as lepers, but still unable to fully participate), apart from a sufficient living, apart from full participation in the synagogue and temple.

But “the LORD does not see as mortals see.”

            In this long healing narrative, Jesus makes the point that this former way of seeing is flawed. If you see this way, you have excluded a child of God and sinned. If you have been blind to this way of seeing, you are in the right.

“The LORD does not see as mortals see”

Nowadays, we are better about not treated people with differing abilities as “lepers”—kicking them out of society, or at least to the edges.

But sometimes we do try to “fix” them, which can be just as violent of a separation.

In America, when people speak a language other than English, some say—“why don’t they just learn English if they want to live here.” This is true of immigrant communities, but also connected to our near by neighbors, the deaf community.

With today’s technology devices—hearing aids, cochlear implants, etc, can aid hearing. However, not everyone who is deaf chooses to use these options. It is not a deficit, something to be fixed, but a trait, just as I am blond or have blue eyes. It is of course different for someone is born deaf vs. becomes deaf, but there are other lines of differences as well.

We do not force people who are deaf or blind to function in life just as those of us who can see and hear, do we? Should we force people who speak other languages to conform—speak ours—to make it easier for us—in order to the be full members of society?

“The LORD does not see as mortals see”

The deaf are not less.

“The LORD does not see as mortals see”

The blind are not lacking.

“The LORD does not see as mortals see”

The “vertically-challenged” do not fall short.

“The LORD does not see as mortals see”

You do not have to fit into some perfect mold—an ideal—to be claimed as a child of God. God does not see us as our list of attributes, contributions, failures, and fears. God is our shepherd who has promised to lead us and protect us no matter what. To provide and fill us with all good things. To give us rest and refreshment. All of this—even when we do not see as we should—even when we are wandering without sight in the dark valley of death.

We say we see, but do not, and so we sin—every time we try to take these promises away from another yet keep them for ourselves—but nonetheless, God our shepherd continues to pursue us all the days of our lives and eternally sets aside a place for us in the Lord’s house.

“The LORD does not see as mortals see”

…and so I pray this week that these promises might be liberating, not only for you, but also for those around you. That as the mud of God’s promises work to clear our vision—to see all as the beloved children of God, fearfully and wonderfully made, in the image of God—we might be able to function ever more as that unified body of Christ, (simultaneously fixed up by God’s love and still fixer uppers), and glimpse a little more of the kingdom of God here on earth.

“The LORD does not see as mortals see”


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