Posted by Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista (United Church of Christ) on Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Homily Given on March 22, 2020
Originally shared via Facebook Live Stream
Scripture Text is John 9:1-12
Rev. Liz Aguilar
Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista UCC
The scripture reading is one of the many stories about Jesus’s miraculous healing. On the surface that is what it is about. But it’s also about some other important things. As this is the season of Lent it is customary for the Christian church to focus on reading scriptures that depict events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
Context: there was this blindman walking about. The disciples notice this blind man and ask Jesus what sin Jesus thinks the man must have committed to have been born blind. Jesus doesn’t spend time focusing on their question. Rather, Jesus he focuses on what the work is to be done. (Verses 4-5) In other words- Jesus was saying, “while I’m around, I must do the work that is at hand.” Jesus then proceeds to cure the man.
Afterwards, people then begin to speculate who it is and how it is that the man who had been blind can now see. (In other words, they continue to focus on the wrong thing.)
This tells me and cautions me NOT to waste time focusing on the wrong thing. We can focus speculating why this happened. Some have wasted time accusing others of having lived sinful lives and that somehow this is a punishment from God. BUT GOD DOES NOT WANT TO HARM US. If we can learn something from the hardship we face, then so be it. But let us not waist time speculating on the who and the why.
Instead, let us be of service- helping one another as much as we can; a phone call, a grocery drop off; a card in the mail, a kind text, an email, praying for one another (I covet your prayers), living peacefully with those with whom you live, forgiving one another, being kind to one another, not keeping score, not wasting time on petty matters.
I have an example of a recent event when a group of people decided to not waist time but instead came together in order to help people in need of food. This last Friday I was so humbled to be serving with a large group of mostly millennials who worked hard for several hours packing groceries in bags and then giving them to the many people who drove up in cars at Community Through Hope. (CTH) is the only social service agency that is dedicated to needs of unsheltered people in Chula Vista and it holds the only operating food bank (besides San Diego’s) in all of South Bay. (South Bay comprises all the cities south of San Diego). This was the first day of our new “shelter in place order” and stores were already running out of food. CTH volunteers had already been giving food out all week every morning. On Friday the number of cars that drove up, doubled in size.
Another way that our church decided not to waste time was to form a new “care team.” The care team made phone calls to all of our members and friends on our roster in order to see if everyone had what they needed and also prayed with some of you. If anyone needed anything they then gave those list of items to the other part of the group (called runners) who then made the drop offs to people’s homes. I am grateful that we know that this is indeed not the time to speculate as to the why and the how but instead we have mobilized into action so that we may be of spiritual and practical support to one another. Therefore, we know it is time to organize and serve others. Jesus was here and came to teach us how to serve others. Let us be His servants but serving our fellow brothers and sisters. Let US be His hands and feet!
I end by reading from one of my favorite theologians, Henri Nouwen. I’m reading a portion of his chapter on “Community” from one of his books that is a compilation of his writings. It’s called, “The only Necessary Thing.” To follow Christ means to relate to each other with the mind of Christ; that is, to relate to each other as Christ did to us- in servanthood and humility. Discipleship is walking together on the same path. While still living wholly in this world, we have discovered each other as fellow travelers on the same path and have formed a new community. Compassion then can never be separated from community. Compassion always reveals itself in communion in a new way of being together. It is in the Christian community that we offer it a compassionate response. For when people come together in Christ’s name, he is present as the compassionate Lord (Matthew 18:20). Jesus Christ himself is and remains the most radical manifestation of God’s compassion.” (The Only Necessary Thing, Henri Nowen., Wendy Wilson Greer, editor. Crossroad Publishing Company. New York, NY. 1999)