Sundays:  Pastor's Class 9:00 AM (Ephesians)
               Divine Liturgy 10:30 AM

Wednesdays: Pastor's Class 10:00 AM (begins again in September)
               Divine Liturgy 7:00 PM

Private Confession: By appointment.



Incarnational Religion

March 19, 2023 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras

blindChrist Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
March 19, 2023
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Lent 4

And as he passed by he saw [a] Man Blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, "Rabbi! Who sinned? He or his parents that he should be born blind." Jesus answered, "Neither he nor his parents sinned; but this condition exists in order that the work of God might be made manifest in him. We must carry out the works of him who sent us while it is Day; Night is coming when no man will be able to work. As long as I am in the world I am the Light of the world." When he had said these things he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, then he anointed him, putting the clay on his eyes. Then he said to him, "Go! Wash in the pool of Siloam (which is translated "Sent")." So he went and washed himself and returned with sight!

We have said many times that the Holy Christian Religion is an incarnational affair. That means that it is more than an idea, concept, impulse or emotion. But that it involves our bodies as well as our souls.

Why do we insist on this? Because God did not make virtual beings that live inside of a video game; but he made flesh and blood people, “of dust from the ground.” (Gen. 2:7)

And in today’s gospel we see the Son of God doing what he did “in the beginning,” but now in front of many witnesses. We see him finishing off what he had purposely left undone at this man’s creation and it amazed all who saw it.

Yes, God formed man from the ground; and now Jesus, who is God made man, does the same. He spits what we can only think of as “divine spit” onto the dust of the earth and uses the resulting clay to open blind eyes, so that now they could see: and O what they saw!

Not only a vision of God’s incredible creation that we take for granted. But the Beautiful Savior whose blood washes away our sins and our past.

And so what the Blessed Holy Trinity, the Father Son and Holy Spirit, did “in the beginning,” we see Jesus the “King of Creation” doing again. And by the Lord’s explanation of things we know that this man was born blind by design. We know that God withheld the most vital of all the senses from him intentionally, so that in his latter days Jesus could demonstrate not only God’s creative powers, but his redemptive powers as well.

Now the disciples who asked the question were not wrong: “Why is this man blind? Was it because of his own sins, or those of his parents?” Or to use St. Paul’s words was it he who “communed with the works of darkness” or was it his parents?

They did right to assign human ailment to sin which is deadly, and debilitating. It may not kill you instantly. But then again it might. But if not instantly then slowly and painfully!

Sometimes we have a conversation in our heads that goes like this: I know I should not do what I am about to do, but I am going to anyway. Sometimes this little talk happens in the blink of an eye, and sometime it is extended.

Other times we react sinfully without thinking at all, because we are morally weak. We have let our faith get flabby. But the result is the same: we end up transgressing what must never be transgressed: God’s Holy Will.

“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

But as often as we do choose sin we are, in the Lord’s own words, “slaves of sin,” and nobody wants to be that. But hear the rest of the Lord’s Word, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

And so God does not only create us, and sustain us; but he also redeems us. That is what happened to the man born blind, who is emblematic of humanity.

While we might have 20/20 vision in our eyes, we are blind to the things of God. To the things that lead to a peaceable life, and eternal joy in heaven at God’s right hand. This is how Jesus finds us when he first makes himself known to us. He finds us with no sight at all, unable to process even a single lumen of divine Light, Life and Glory.

But then he anoints us with the oil of the Holy Spirit, the oil of gladness, and baptizes us in the Pool of Siloam, and now our eyes are open. Now the primal blindness that the devil blinds us with, is cured, and we can see God. Now we can behold with our eyes all that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise. (Phil. 4:8)

Now in Baptismal Liturgies of the past there were certain rituals that were wrongly rejected by the Reformers, but need to be restored and may God grant it.

Case in point: the baptismal candidate was first anointed with oil which is the “sacramental element” of the Holy Spirit, then the minister would touch his finger to his tongue and anoint the candidate’s eyes with his own saliva, in imitation of the Sign that Jesus did in today’s gospel. Then he would baptize him. Wash him in the “Pool of Siloam” as it were; then the chains of his sins were broken, and his eyes opened so that now he could behold God! And there is nothing better than that!

This is what happened then, and this is what happens now, to us, in our baptism. And so let us never lose hope because there is no shortage of divine saliva to open our eyes to Jesus, and divine blood to cleanse us from all sin. Amen.