We have a dog. She is a ball a muscle, full of love and energy. She would love nothing better than to roam all day in the woods. She often has. With us tagging along behind trying to get her attention to come back, that it is time to come home. She is deaf. No one has ever told her she is deaf. It’s just someone told us. And now she stays on a long lead.
The reason for mentioning our canine this morning was today’s verses.
They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, ‘Can you see anything?’ And the man looked up and said, ‘I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.’ Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Then he sent him away to his home, saying, ‘Do not even go into the village.’ Mark 8:22-26
The same question as that of the Pharisees: “Show us a sign.” The bit I mulled over today was the fella’s response: Trees walking.
How did he know what a tree looked like? How could one of ”us” be so huge and different in shape? Why and why to the power of confusion! And then why did Jesus not get it right the first time? Why did it take two hits for Jesus to fix this fella? And then a whisper.
Our dog rarely looks up above. She can spot a squirrel – if it is ahead. And I can spot a squirrel above our heads from the rustle and scrape on bark. She never does because she never looks up. And when I try and attract her attention to the world above – she looks at me as some demented fella.
And so with the blind fella. He “saw” trees. He saw trees as the same height, and same shape as “us”. No canopy or upper branches. His world was six-eight feet high. Yet Jesus didn’t give the fella a lecture. And that wonderful PING!!
Jesus didn’t need two hits to make that blind man see. That happened just fine with a little spit and polish. The blind man needed two hits to “see”. Back to front, Paul (again!).
The blind man had a universe all mapped out. Might not have been perfect, yet he knew his way around. Knew that trees were the same as people, except they stayed put whereas we moved around. The second hit was to tear down that veil of “it is what it is” he carried.
The same “it is what it is” we all carry. The size and shape and sense of our universe (even the one we like to think we have cracked with God in it) – always of necessity being our own creation.
And as the one who “does” creation, Jesus of necessity is always journeying with our perspective and fit of his universe. He hears rustling above? We have no need to look. We hug a tree? Feels really good. Yet he sees and feels the softness of leaves and canopy. We never do.
And I think that because we operate, need to operate, in a world in which we feel as safe as we can – our understanding of that world and universe is written in indelible ink. Inside where the safe stuff happens. And when we journey with or without our lord, if we are asked to rub out a few lines and move them upwards – that is a hard task.
Maybe the “higher our lines are written” having to move our indelible ink is just as hard as it was for the blind man. That the great unwashed, the lost world, the followers of the way, believers, disciples … we are all the same. We are all the sum of our own indelible ink. Because we must. It is how we operate.
And it is a universe we adjust with great reluctance and caution – shifting the lines has to allow us to feel safe. Has to adjust our new amended creation so we still feel safe. And maybe that explains the frustration we all suffer. With all this divisive “God Stuff”. And more and more I am seeing that differently. I simply call that living rather than sinning. Staying sane rather than staying lost. Loving rather than hating.
(Now this may begin to become boring in your creation – in mine I am looking at the next few words as how he “dissolves” my indelible ink with so little pain. Keeps on dissolving my lines and moving them around – fingers in face paint. Safe!! Wow!!)
“The answer is love” … for the alternative is to destroy.
Destroy another’s sacred universe they have crafted. And in the void leave only a vacuum. A vacuum they have not yet learned to craft differently. One in which they are not safe. A sacred being now become a scared person.
I think that Jesus did something very special then – and this morning.
I think he challenged the blind man’s universe (and mine). The one the man (and I) had created. The one the blind man (insert your own “and mine”s…) knew was so pale compared to his friends and family – those who told him every day how much he was missing. So Jesus had one willing blind man. Yet the fella only saw eight feet high. He saw safe. He saw his own universe.
Jesus’s second touch?
He submerged the man in his love. Not a word spoken. Not a lecture given. Not a blog written. Submerged this man in love. Made him feel safe. Safe enough to redraw his own lines, create a different world – and Feel Safe. Feel Loved. Isn’t that how Jesus always does his work, his mission? Submerge in Love? Isn’t that his own special dissolving fluid for our indelible ink – if we allow?
Submerge in Love. The answer’s love.
Is there any other way, follower of the Way?