Thanks to Acts of Hope
At a peace gathering
We’re not only ten thousand I said
there are more of us here
the dead of both wars
are with us
A journalist came and asked
how could I know that
haven’t you seen them
i ask the clueless guy
haven’t you heard your grandmother
groaning when they started it up again
do you live all alone
without any dead who drop in
for a drink with you
do you really think
you are only yourself
Dorothee Sölle, The Mystery of Death
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The man born blind:
The question this raises for me is "what do I have to cast off to be able to see?" How are things I have accumulated, the cultural baggage of my life, blinding me to seeing life? A priest who is blind says that this passage speaks to him - not because it offers him sight as sighted people would have it but because it leads him to "insight." His physical blindness allows him to hear the hearts of those who come to him with out being blinded by their appearance, clothing or attitude.
Earlier in Mark, we hear the story of the rich young man who does everything right but cannot follow Jesus because he can not rid himself of his possessions. It is hard work to let go of things - as I know from getting ready to move into a house 1/3 the size of our current home. It is even harder to get rid of years of cultural learnings about who is worthy of my attention, who can come to the table, who is a child of God - not as the world sees but as God sees. As the old musical South Pacific says "we have to be carefully taught" and we are.
I once took an anti-racism course where the teacher talked about the arrows that life throws at us about our worthiness - not measuring up - our minds, bodies and souls under attack - and we build up layers of self protection to make it through our days. The result is that each of us responds from under layers and layers of armor. We can't be open to one another as we hide from the risk of wounding.
Jesus invites us to take off our cloaks of protection and follow him - the one who is willing to be wounded for anyone and all. The blind man leaps at the chance - he knows the circumscribed life is no life. He flings off all that he has for the chance at LIFE.