This week’s virtual church service for the fourth Sunday of Lent is LIVE. Click HERE to view the 20 minute service. In this week’s service, we explore the story from John’s gospel of the Man Born Blind and the invitation to use the brain God gave us to reason, discern and exercise truth. Sometimes the truth God reveals to us differs from the truths handed down by man. Sometimes the law of love overrides the law of the Church.
Here is this week’s spiritual practices supplement for this coming Sunday, March 30th, the Fourth Sunday of Lent. The invitation this week is to use the brain that God gave us to reason, discern and exercise truth. Instead of adhering to some outside, perceived authority, we are invited to turn within to the ultimate authority – God. It is through attention to our spiritual practice that we can begin to hear the voice of God and distinguish the voice of God from the voice of our ego. And when all else fails, turn to your spiritual director for help 😉 P.S. If you find these resources meaningful, supportive and helpful, please consider making a one-time or schedule a monthly donation to Authentic Freedom Ministries. (Donate button on right side-bar menu!) THANK YOU!
Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter
Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent—. So he went and washed, and came back able to see. His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is, “ but others said, “No, he just looks like him.” He said, “I am.” So they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” He replied, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went there and washed and was able to see.” And they said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I don’t know.” They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath. So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.” So some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a sinful man do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said to the blind man again, “What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” Now the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight. They asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?” His parents answered and said, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ, he would be expelled from the synagogue. For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; question him.” So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give God the praise! We know that this man is a sinner.” He replied, “If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.” So they said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”They ridiculed him and said, “You are that man’s disciple; we are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from.” The man answered and said to them, “This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him. It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything.” They answered and said to him, “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw him out. When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him. Then Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains
John 9: 1-41
Ps 23: 1-6
Eph 5: 8-14
Using the brain God gave us.
In this week’s gospel, we are invited to use the brain the God gave us to reason, discern and exercise truth. One of the things that helps support us in our ability to reason, discern and exercise truth is to cultivate a regular spiritual practice. Through attention to the Divine within, we have an opportunity to come to know what truth feels like and we are given the strength and courage needed to live that truth.
How are you being invited to cultivate a regular spiritual practice in support of your own discernment?
With this week’s scripture, you are invited to use the spiritual practice of Imagination/contemplation. Follow the steps below:
- Slowly and meditatively read the gospel account of the story of the man born blind.
- As you are reading, choose a character that stands out to you – Jesus, the blind man, the blind man’s parents, the Pharisees, the blind man’s parents, the disciples, etc.
- Placing yourself in the story as the character you chose. Imagine in detail the setting. What are you wearing? What is the environment like in temple? What is the weather? How are you feeling? Who is there with you?
- Without censoring, allow the story to unfold in your imagination. Allow yourself to daydream the story in your mind, letting it flow without censoring, questioning, critique, simply allow the story to unfold in your mind. Be attentive to all the details. Be especially mindful of any thoughts, feelings or emotions that might surface.
- After the story has come to a natural conclusion in your mind, write it down in a notebook or journal, being attentive to any additional details which might reveal themselves.
- After you have written the story, go back and read what you wrote.
- Reflect on the following questions: a) How is the story that was revealed to you reflective of something going on in your own life? b) What might God be trying to reveal to you through the story that came forth through your imagination?
From the perspective of Authentic Freedom, this week’s gospel reading confronts the fear I do not know (my truth, my path). The truth which we are invited to embrace is that God is the source of our truth and that we are able to come to know this truth through our connection with God.
How are you aware of the fear “I do not know,” as operating in your life?
Where are you tempted to give your power over to an outside perceived authority instead of taking time to turn to God for guidance toward your truth?
Where has your truth been in conflict with the authority structures in your life? How have you responded to this conflict?