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Sunday Devotion: 22 March 2020, Fourth Sunday in Lent

Sunday Devotions

Seeing with the heart

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Written by clergy and lay people across our Diocesan community, ‘Sunday Devotions’ is a column of short reflections based on a Lectionary reading of the day, suitable for small group discussion or personal use.

Main Readings: 1 Samuel 16.1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5.8-14; John 9.1-41

Supplementary Readings: Psalm 31.1-9; 2 Corinthians 11.12-21; Exodus 5.1-9, 5.19-6.1; Psalm 69.20-28; Matthew 27.1-31

“One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9.25)

My cousin Katrin was born without irises. When, as a toddler, she unexpectedly looked for and retrieved tiny beads spilt on the carpet, everyone was overjoyed that she could see. However, infections and excessive eye pressure meant that, by the age of eight, she lost vision in one eye; and despite improved medical intervention, became completely blind in adulthood.

“Who has sinned?” Jesus was asked by his disciples upon seeing the blind man (John 9.1-2). Similarly, my aunt scrutinised her pregnancy: might she have caused the condition she wondered? She did not. Instead, thinking of Katrin helps us reflect on what Jesus means by “seeing” and “not seeing” (John 9.39). With only 10 percent vision in one eye, Katrin attended a regular school until Year 11. I have never known her to bemoan her circumstance – she is matter of fact and honest about it all. Yet, despite repeated setbacks, she is an infectiously positive and cheerful person who loves to bake, weaves with fine thread, and organises her neighbourhood’s street parties.

The way Katrin lives her life shows that ‘seeing’ is about more than vision. As is blindness. Today’s readings highlight that we can be easily distracted by the superficiality of outer appearances (1 Samuel 16.7); that we need reminding about walking in the Light (Ephesians 5.8-14); and, like the religious leaders of Jesus’ time, we can struggle to see past convention (John 9.14-16).

Seeing, then, is being transformed by Christ’s light so that we might know and see with the heart of God.

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