March 02, 2008

Henry Neufeld - “Mud in My Eyes”

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Henry Neufeld spoke on "Mud in my eyes". After Samuel was finally forced to acknowledge that his sons were hopelessly corrupt and unworthy of succeeding him in office, he agreed to help the people establish a monarchy. Years later, after King Saul eventually became a disobedient and ineffective ruler, the aging Samuel anointed the youthful David as someone who would 'see' more clearly as king. John 9 tells how Jesus gave sight to a man (blind from birth) by spitting on the road's dust, making mud and placing it on the man's eyes. Although people assumed that the unfortunate chap was blind because of sin, Jesus said that this definitely was not the case – implying that it never is the case. Some Pharisees argued that Jesus could not be from God because he healed the blind man on the Sabbath, whereas the formerly blind man responded that only God could make such a great miracle possible. The story helps us understand that sometimes those who make a pretense of 'seeing' are themselves blind, whereas Christ gives 'sight'. Interestingly, the blind man never asked for healing, nor was he required to have faith. This is therefore yet another story reminding us that Jesus brought different people to salvation in different ways, each according to their need. Jesus recognized that no one formula or approach could be successfully applied to any two people. For example, only Nicodemus was instructed to be 'born again' (neither Jesus nor his followers ever suggested this to anyone else). Only the rich young ruler was asked to give away all of his wealth, and although Jesus apparently never brought up the topic of money with another very wealthy man, Zacchaeus came to understand on his own that he needed to volunteer to make restitution if he was to become more like Jesus. Since Jesus never offered a single formula for us to follow, Paul wisely instructed us to "work out our own salvation, with fear and trembling". This implies that we need to become creative when examining ourselves this Lenten season so that we can identify and then remove the mud from our own eyes. Had Samuel's sons and King Saul learned this lesson, Jewish history might have been quite different. [JEK]


Passage: 1Sa 16:1-13; Jn 9:1-41; Ps 23
Communion: No
Ecumenical or Event: Lent IV
Potluck Lunch: No
Congregational Meeting: No


Speaker: Henry Neufeld
Worship Leader: Janice Kreider
Song Leader: Evan Kreider
Pianist: Ruth Enns
Usher: Edward Epp
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