The Reverend Eric Randolph (he/him/his)
We met the blind man in last Sunday's gospel reading, to whom Jesus restored sight by mixing his saliva with dirt and applying the mud to the man's eyes. When the Pharisees questioned him about his experience, he replied, "I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to be his disciples?" (John 9.35 NRSV).
Our Lenten devotional guide, "Ask: A lenten series," challenges us to reflect on this encounter, asking:
Have you ever spoken about Jesus with someone who does not believe and does not want to? What was this experience like? Alternatively, consider a time in your lift when someone told you about God, but you could not listen?
When I think back on all the conversations I've had about faith with people, the ones that come to mind first are the ones I've had with coworkers at the lunch table. Because the majority of my coworkers practiced a faith other than Christianity, these faith discussions were inquisitive in nature. Muslims, Hindus, Bahá', Buddhists, and Sikhs sat around the table, and the conversation naturally expanded to include our faith traditions. No one used the opportunity to proselytize as we sat and listened to each other speak about our faith traditions and practices; instead, it was a time of learning and growing in friendship.
It is my calling as a pastor to speak about our Christian faith, God and Jesus Christ, and Lutheran theology. I'm called to be with people in their joys and sorrows, as well as in their pain and rage. It's easy to talk about God and all the blessings we receive from God when we're happy, but it's not so easy when we're sad like at the bedside of a dying mother with her adult children surrounding her, or when a young child dies. Finding the right words to say in those moments is difficult, and it's all too easy to respond with a platitude that offers no support to the bereaved, only exacerbating their grief.
Early in my formation, I learned that sometimes, especially in times of grief and pain, the best response is simply to be present and silent. Most of us find long periods of silence uncomfortable, but silence can be holy. Very holy! We make room for God to work through the Holy Spirit in silence. Silence is often perceived as unsettling because it implies a lowering of our guard—silence can imply vulnerability. But it is safe to be vulnerable with God.
Holy Spirit, show me someone who does not recognize the truth of your love. What can I say to serve them today?
As we conclude our week, I invite you to intentionally find a way to share God's love in actions only. Whether it's giving food to someone who is hungry, clothing to someone in need, or just sitting with someone who needs your presence. Do something to show that you've listened to them in the past. Show up at an action for justice.
Join us for worship this Sunday at 10:00am in-person and online! Here at Peace Lutheran Church we believe God loves everyone because God has created everyone uniquely. You're welcome here!
Adapted from "Ask: a Lenten Series" by Barn Geese Worship, 2023. Used with permission.