Wednesday, May 2nd. Mark 8:22-26

They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, ‘Can you see anything?’ And the man looked up and said, ‘I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.’ Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Then he sent him away to his home, saying, ‘Do not even go into the village.’  Mark 8:22-26


Years ago I heard a great joke…that I can’t really remember.  I would love to tell it but my reconstruction of the punch line would ruin it… But I’ll give it a shot.


Several years after Jesus’ resurrection there was a huge gathering of people who had been healed by Jesus. They had gathered together to remember and to celebrate how Jesus had blessed them.  But as they talked, they began to disagree with each other.


One guy said, “I remember it well.  I was blind and Jesus made a little mud and rubbed it in my eyes.  He told me to go and wash my eyes off in a pool and when I did I could see again.”


The guy from today’s reading said, “No, that isn’t how Jesus heals.  He doesn’t use mud, he uses spit.  That’s what happened to me.  He put saliva in my eyes two times and then I could see again.”


Then a third guy chimed in, “No, you’re both wrong.  All Jesus had to do to heal me was to say the word.  I had never walked in my lifetime until Jesus said the words, “Rise, take up your pallet and walk.’  And I did.”


On and on they argued.  They couldn’t agree with one another.  And thus was born the first three Christian denominations, the Muddites, the Spitittes, and the Word Alone Network.


(cue drum rim shot)


Later this morning I have been invited to lead weekly chapel at a high rise retirement center.  The man who recruited me to the task asked me to choose some songs.  He said, “We have quite a good collection of hymnals – Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian – so I can find pretty much any hymn you want to sing.”  As is usually the case in Texas, Lutherans will be a distinct minority which is fine by me.


After that I’ll go to a home to pray with some people grieving after the death of a loved one.  Some of us will be Lutheran, the others Roman Catholic. 


On Sunday night this week I’ll be among those offering prayers at a national day of prayer event at the largest Episcopal church in Houston.  It is the home congregation of George and Barbara Bush, among others.  People of many different religions will be praying together.


Sometimes, in our immaturity, we see men but they look like trees walking.  Our vision is obscured.


So we confess our limited vision to Jesus and he touches us anew, that we might see more clearly.


And finally we trust, we hope, and we pray with St. Paul, that though we see now as through a mirror darkly, a day might come when we see God face to face.  When we know God as we are fully known.


Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, whatever it takes, we pray that you touch us with the love that allows us to see ourselves and others with clarity, with grace, with appreciation and with love.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


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