Scripture: John 9:1-3, 6-7 (NRSV)

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him"... When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.


I think Jesus performed two miracles that day. He restored a blind man's sight. But first, he noticed. Jesus saw that blind beggar, an object of ridicule and theological debate, but rarely the subject of anyone's genuine interest (We don't even know his name!). Before Jesus spat or smeared any mud on those eyes, he recognized that the blind man counted, that he was worthy of attention, whole and wholly human -- and always had been.

It makes me suspect that the disciples, the Pharisees, and a few others miss the point when they blame suffering on sin, when they scour the crowds to find all the "pure and perfect people" and dismiss or condemn the rest. Perhaps they've forgotten the stories that allegedly inspired their faith. After all, didn't Moses, who led the Israelite people out of exile, suffer from a stutter? Didn't Jacob limp for much of his life? Wasn't Sara barren? And Abraham too old?

Maybe that's why God chose them in the first place, because they understood struggle, because they had cultivated strength in the face of suffering and disappointment. Or maybe, just maybe, our own ideas about perfection are completely off base. Maybe God who works through a blind beggar works in all of us, rejoices in each of us, just as we are, whole and precious.


Dear God, let your glory shine out through my eyes and help me to recognize Your good work revealed in and through others -- including the people I almost didn't notice today. Amen.

Alison J. Buttrick Patton

pastor of Saugatuck Congregational Church, UCC in Westport

March 26, 2014
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