Watching for the morning of March 30
The Fourth Sunday in Lent
Light and darkness, seeing and unseeing eyes, form the center of Sunday’s readings. Samuel is sent to Bethlehem to anoint a king in place of Saul. He is impressed by the physique and appearance of Jesse’s first born, but he is not the one – nor any of David’s older brothers. God reminds Samuel that he does not look on outward appearance but sees the heart.
Though David becomes the shepherd of Israel, the nation’s leader and protector, David sees that God is his – and our – true protector, sustaining him even in the face of death and amidst the intrigues of the royal court.
Paul – or, perhaps, a student of Paul – writes to the Christian community in Ephesus, exhorting them to walk as children of the light.
And Jesus heals a man born blind, an act that reveals Jesus as the light of the world – but also that the leadership of Judah as unseeing.
All of which invites us to examine whether we see truly, whether we live in and from the light, or whether we are walking in the murkiness of death’s dark vale.
The Prayer for March 30, 2014
Almighty God, Holy and True,
who opened the eyes of the man born blind
that he might see and know you:
Remove from us all blindness of heart and spirit
that we might truly follow you in lives of faith, hope and love.
The Texts for March 30, 2014
First Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
“The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – Saul has proven himself unworthy of the monarchy and God commissions Samuel to go to Bethlehem to anoint one of the sons of Jesse as king. All Jesse’s sons look the part of a king, but God chooses the youngest, David, who is out guarding the sheep.
Psalmody: Psalm 23
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” – David’s famous psalm acknowledging God as his ruler and protector.
Second Reading: Ephesians 5:8-14
“Once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light.” –Writing to the believing community in Ephesus, Paul (or someone writing on Paul’s behalf or in his name) urges the community to live faithfully the life into which they have been called in Christ.
Gospel: John 9:1-41
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” – Jesus heals a man born blind who is subsequently investigated by the authorities and evicted from the synagogue for his affiliation with Jesus.