John 9:1-3

Tuesday, March 21              
Ed Mason

As [Jesus] walked along, 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 this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.”

At U of I Journalism School many years ago, I learned the “5 W’s and H” of good reporting: who, what, when, where, why, and how. In questioning Jesus, the disciples in today’s Scripture passage focus on two of the W’s: assuming the “why” of the man’s blindness—someone must have sinned, or so the disciples believed—they ask Jesus a simple multiple-choice question regarding the “who”: “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answers the question directly, responding, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” then reframes the question by pivoting away from the “why” and “who” to focus on the “how”: how are God’s works being revealed, through the man’s blindness?

So often and quite naturally in life’s messiness, I want to focus on questions of why and who—why is this happening and who is responsible? These are not necessarily bad questions, but they may miss an important—perhaps the most important—point.

Like the disciples in John 9:1-3, Jesus encourages us instead to focus on the question of how: how are God’s works being revealed in life’s circumstances as we, individually and together, are experiencing them? And, following from that question, how might we, individually and together, be called to be participants in God’s works in the lives of others and the world around us?

Dear God, open our hearts and minds to observe and listen to you in life’s struggles so that we may truly see and be thankful for your works in the world. Help and empower us to participate, by your grace, in your loving work of reconciling our broken and alienated world to God in Christ Jesus. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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