This Sunday we read about the blind man who received his sight from Jesus. Coupled with this gospel message is the message from the first book of Samuel about not choosing the one that looks like a king, but rather the one who is to be king. And in the epistle to the Ephesians, we read about the fact that those things done in the dark will be revealed in the light. While these readings seem rather disconnected, they tell us a story.
You see, Samuel was sent to choose the new king of Israel; the one that was to replace the increasingly evil Saul. David’s brothers were strong and wise, but they were not the ones that God wanted to be king. Instead, God chose David, the scrawny but wise goat herder to be the next great king of Israel. David was not what was expected, but he was what was needed at that time.
In Ephesians, Saint Paul reminds us that nothing is hidden from God. God saw David’s heart and knew he would unite the Kingdom of Israel and would do what was necessary to build up the civil and religious community in the nation. God looks deep within us and sees the good, the bad, and the ugly and still use us to reach those hurting in the world.
And then we read about Jesus coming upon the blind man. This man was overlooked, abused, and marginalized by the people around him, including the religious leaders. They saw him as a sign of the sins of his parents. They believed that either he or his parents had sinned leaving him blind because of their lawlessness. Jesus tells the self-righteous religious leaders of his day that not only was the man not blind because of any sin but that he was blind to show the greatness and power of God to an unbelieving and blind world.
We wander around looking for the next best leader. Whether that leader is the President of the United States, a governor of our state, or a religious leader in the church. We look for perfect people. People who exude great holiness and look the part of a righteous leader. All too often we are disillusioned by the fact that those leaders do not live up to our expectations. We forget, they too are human.
I am not perfect. No clergyperson in our church is perfect. I have my vices. I smoke cigars, I cuss way too much, and yes, I still have a hair trigger sometimes when I get upset. I am a broken human being. People around me remind me routinely that I am fat and a disappointment when it comes to being a Bishop. They are my “thorn in the flesh to keep me humble”.
I do know one thing for certain: I sit with the dying when they have no one to sit with them. I cry with the sorrowful, laugh with the joyful, get angry at the injustice in the world around me, work to help provide for the hungry and homeless, and listen to anyone who needs to talk about anything going on in their lives. I let the light of Christ shine through my brokenness. And while I am not perfect, and I never claim to be, I believe I am living the two great commandments given us by Jesus: Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself.
This lent, take a moment to reflect on the things that the light of conviction shines on in your lives. Look at the areas that need to improve and those things that cause you pain. Come to understand that while none of us are perfect, we are all called by God to love one another.
Maybe then we can learn to create a more healthy and loving society.