Lent 4 :: Judge a book by its content

John 9.1-41


A matter of perspective

How well I remember that spring day in 9th grade science class. We had just been given the week’s Science Weekly Reader, a newspaper specifically geared toward young, budding science students. On the front page was an article about a new acne treatment, complete with a “before” and “after” picture of a teenage boy who had received the “miracle” cure. His “before” picture was pretty much what you’d expect: a young face pockmarked with acne scars, blackheads, and zits. The “after” shot showed a smiling young man with baby-smooth skin. The transformation was miraculous, if not hard to believe.

As I was reading an article about something-or-other, two girls sitting behind me called out to me to turn around. They held the front-page acne article up and began comparing the “before” picture with my face! Giggling to themselves, they suggested I might want to try the cure.

Now I’ll be the first to admit I was no adonis at that age [what 9th grader is?] and I did have oily skin and acne. But really! Comparing me to that boy? How rude!

I guess we all tend to compare other people’s looks with our own. Attractiveness can be a very nice quality in a person and, after all, many of the relationships we have with others are based on our attraction to the other person. Indeed, the multi-billion dollar health and beauty industry quite literally banks on that. But there is so much more to us than physical beauty. If we merely judge one another by attractiveness—by what we can see with our eyes—we’ll miss out on the true essence in the other.

Fortunately for us, everyone is beautiful in the eyes of God. And while we may look on appearance as a standard by which to evaluate others, God sees through all that into our hearts. Seems this was something the blind man in our Gospel message today might’ve known better than many of us… 

The purple hanging on the Reredos Cross at St. John’s this week represents the Royalty of the “man from God” who has power to restore sight to the blind, pronounce forgiveness to the penitent or judgement to the sinner—Royal prerogatives all!

Link to RCL Lectionary for the Fourth Sunday in Lent 

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