One of the Bible readings in most churches this Sunday will be the story of Jesus healing a man who was born blind (John 9:1-41). In such a long reading there are a number of points we could focus on, but I want to focus on the actual healing itself.
Jesus spat on the ground and made some mud with the spittle; he rubbed the mud on the man’s eyes and told him, “Go and wash your face in the Pool of Siloam.” (This name means “Sent.”) So the man went, washed his face, and came back seeing. (John 9:6-7)
To heal the man born blind, Jesus doesn’t pull out some magical gold dust from a special bag or cast some magical spell. No! He spits on the ground and makes some mud, puts it on the man’s eyes and tells him to go and wash it off. There was nothing special about this dirt. It was dirt that had been walked on by thousands of people over thousands of years. There was nothing special about the pool where he washed his face. So where was the power to heal? It was in God’s promise: ‘you go, you wash’, and the implication was, ‘and you will be healed’.
This is the way God often works. In baptism he tells us to take ordinary water together with his Word (I baptise you in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit), and in that sins are forgiven and the doors of heaven are opened. Where is the power? Not in the water, but in the promise of God’s Word. The same in Holy Communion: ordinary bread, ordinary wine, but when taken together with God’s Word (take and eat/drink for the forgiveness of sins), sins are forgiven and faith is strengthened. Where is the power to do this? Not in the bread or wine, but in the promise of God’s Word.
God does the same thing through ordinary people like you and me. As ordinary as we are, we can still bring God’s promise to others. We don’t need to be a chaplain or counsellor because the power to change lives doesn’t rest in the person, but in the promise of God’s Word.
Amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, there is much anxiety for all sorts of reasons. Within that you may feel like you don’t have the time or the ability to bring God’s peace to others. If God can use dirt, water, bread and wine to change peoples’ lives, he can certainly use you. As you share God’s love and peace, you partner with God in bringing a sense of peace and direction in a growingly anxious world.
May you know God’s peace as he walks with you, and may you know that God wants to use you to bring the promise of his love and peace to those in your midst.
Spiritual & Cultural Leader