A couple of weeks back, John introduced us to Nicodemus. Throughout the entirety of the Gospel, we see Nicodemus in the background slowly undergoing a spiritual transformation as he moves from identifying Jesus as a man to the prophet to God, Christ the Messiah, a slow steady witnessing that requires him to let go of everything he knew and trusted to become a believer.
Our lectionary today brings us to the same awareness.
Samuel grieving over Saul was hurt and rejected yet takes God’s charge, heads to Jesse to seek out a king. He sees Eliab and by his stature, he is reminded of Saul. “Surely this must be the Lord’s anointed,” but the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him.
Why do we seek to hold on to things that God has rejected?
Samuel cast judgment based on emotion. Feelings that held him back and tied him to the past, not to God’s direction. How often do we do this in our own lives, hold onto people, places or things that we know are toxic, bad for us, or simply stunts our spiritual growth keeping us stuck?
How often do we allow our fears, our hurts, our sorrows or insecurities to speak over the truth and the direction of God?
You see, seven more brothers pass him by. The Lord chose none of them. No instead he chose David, the smallest of them. David the sinner. David the one out in the field. Surely he appeared nothing like Saul, but God sees what Samuel couldn’t.
Jesus sees a blind man, outside the synagogue, and on the Sabbath, he makes mud, rubs it on his eyes. Jesus then sends him to wash, and as the water cleanses the mud, he sees. Then almost immediately the man must account for Jesus.
In the first paragraph, he says, “The man called Jesus made mud and spread it on my eyes.” Recognizing Jesus as a man. In the second paragraph, he answers the Pharisees, “He is a prophet,” and then in the last paragraph, he says, “Lord, I believe,” recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. The transformation of the man was more than the physical, it was a spiritual transformation.
Now the people wanted to see Jesus as a sinner, after all, he made mud on the Sabbath and that would be a no, no. It’s always easier to lay blame on someone or something when our belief or way of life is challenged or suddenly changed. It can almost feel threatening to our own comfort and security to be thrust into a new way of life or perspective.
Emotion and fear of letting go and allowing God to direct our lives can be overwhelming. After all that’s why they sent the healed man away and why his parent’s feared to answer the people in the synagogue. Spiritual growth and Change can happen over the course of time, slowly like Nicodemus. It can happen systematically like Samuel or it can happen quickly causing a stir like the blind man.
From man, to prophet, to God… I believe.
We have been thrust into a new way of living. The Corona Virus has impeded and changed just about everything. How we engage as people, how we live our daily lives, how we dine, how we worship, perhaps even how we pray. In this new era, we have a choice, to hold on to what and how we lived, mourning like Samuel or embrace a spiritual transformation through the desert, opening our selves to a new life and perspective. No, growth is not always easy, it’s bumpy and sometimes even scary, but letting go and moving one step at a time forward gives us all room for God’s good grace.
So, don’t let how you feel get in the way of what God desires for you in your life and in the life of others and don’t be so quick to count others out, and don’t be so quick to let others count you out, for we look at the outward, but God looks at the inward. We cannot see what God sees, but we can trust, let go, and let God. A new day, a new glory is on its way… If you’ll allow it.
In Christ, Mo. Allison+