March 18, 2023

Called Out of Darkness into the Light (Lent 4)

The Readings continue the Lenten challenge to self-examination and being born again. We see the contrast between the Pharisees who were supposed to be understand spiritual things spiritual – but remained in spiritual darkness; and man born blind, a presumed sinner – who comes out of darkness into the light of Christ. The Pharisees were stuck in the darkness of the world and the blind man become the light of Christ and a sign of God’s Glory in the world.

1.    We are all born Spiritually Blind

When we are spiritually blind, we don’t know we are spiritually blind. In contrast the man born blind knew he was physically blind. He ha spent his whole life learning to overcome his disability and be the best he could be:

·      The Pharisees did not know they were spiritually blind

·     In the Gospel the Pharisees use all the tricks to not see who Jesus is – The man was not born blind, they bully him, his parents

·     Nicodemus the Great Teacher of Faith couldn’t see who Jesus was

·      Modern clergy are sometimes no different

·     Framers of BAS Lectionary couldn’t see how supernatural dimension works – how sin pollutes the spirit and soul – cut out the “offensive bits” about sexual immorality” (Ephesians 5.3-7) that defined the deeds of darkness – idolatry

·     This is the natural process of self-deception we all know so well – we don’t see things that would upset our bubble

2. We Need to be Born Again to See Spiritually

This is what Jesus said. Some churches are uncomfortable with this. They have good reason - experiences of the Holy Spirit are impossible to control, counterfeited by the evil One and cause divisions. But then birth / Christianity is not supposed to be easy and painless. Being born again opens our spiritual eyes so we can see and understand the spiritual dimension:

·     The Bible makes sense – it is mostly about the spiritual dimension operating in the physical world

·     Our eyes are opened to see and understand new things in the Bible

·     Words and ideas jump out to help us in life


3.  Born Again People Have the Light of Christ

We have an experience of Jesus / Holy Spirit that opens our eyes. Believers come out of spiritual darkness and into the spiritual light of Jesus. Become a new person but still have old habits:

·     Like the Prodigal Son story – come to our senses

·     Realize we cannot manage on our own

·     Take our pride, idolatry, greed to the Cross

·     Receive Gift of Holy Spirit – like a light that convicts us, guides us and heals us

·      As we grow in our spiritual life in-Christ as we respond to the call and become the light of Christ shining in the world and overcoming the darkness of the world.


4. Our Light Shines Brighter as We Serve Others 

Servant ministry keeps us humble and our love relationship with Jesus grows brighter as we see Gods love healing other broken people:

·     Prevents us from being a holy huddle focussed on ourselves / our traditions / our beliefs

·     Tests our courage as we pour ourselves out and discover Holy Spirit filling us up

·     Our light gets brighter as it shines in the darkness of the world

·      We become part of Jesus as the Light of the world

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