Do you have a Spiritual Blind spot? Our reading from John 9:1-41, this morning is full of them. Starting with the disciples who think that the Blind man was born that way as a result of either his or his parent’s sin or the Pharisees who were so caught up with their own rules and way of doing things that they couldn’t recognize God’s power at work or in fact that Jesus was the Son of God. In spite of having the blind man explain to them in multiple ways the miracle of God’s love, the Pharisees remain unable or unwilling to see. Their blindness is far worse than that of the man born blind and while his eyes are opened theirs remain firmly shut. As a result they are unable to recognize or give thanks for the presence of living God at work in their midst.
We too can be spiritually blind when we fail to recognize God’s amazing, transforming and healing power at work in our lives. Jesus, “The light of the world,” has given us new life and through the work of the Holy Spirit continues to bring his light and love into our lives and our hurting world. Let me invite you to take some time in your Lenten reflections this week to open your eyes and give thanks for the good things God has Given you.
Till next time….Andrew.
In this week’s Gospel we see the wonderful story of Jesus encounter with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. Too embarrassed to draw water with the other women of her village, the woman comes to draw water in the middle of the day and is surprised to be asked by Jesus for a drink of water and even more surprised when he leads her to the waters of eternal life. In their brief encounter Jesus speaks to her deepest needs and offers her life far beyond her wildest imaginings. As she gives herself up to the Lord her life is transformed and her spirit is set free.
Jesus teaches her that true freedom comes not from empty religious observances but from learning to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth
Unable to contain her joy the woman no longer concerned about what the rest of her neighbors may think of her rushes back to invite them to come and taste living water for themselves. ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! John 4:29
Till next time….Andrew.
Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to Jesus , ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ John 3:3-4
In the third chapter of his Gospel John reminds Nicodemus of God’s abundant love and generosity demonstrated in gift of his only Son. Nicodemus’s problem, and sometimes ours as well, is that we make faith to complicated. We fall into the trap of thinking that God’s love for us is dependent upon us doing the right things, that somehow we have to earn his favour, in order to deserve his love. What John chapter 3 reminds us is that, God’s love is freely given and can never be bought or earned.
“Giving is us expressing our gratitude to God. - Not us earning Gods favour.”
The only way to be born a new in this sinful world is to trust in the new life that God pours into us through the Holy Spirit , a gift that is free to all who will receive it and put their trust in Jesus. The only thing required by us is faith. Only once we put our trust entirely in Spirit of the one and only God will our lives be transformed and our values changed into the values and priorities of the Kingdom. The reason that we love is because he first loved us
Till next time….Andrew.
Today is the first Sunday of Lent. Traditionally in the church Lent is a reverent season of self denial and reflection. It is a season in which many Christians fast or give up certain luxuries as an act of penance or devotion to God. If this is something that you have chosen to do as a part of your Lenten practice then let me encourage you and pray that whatever you have given up will help you to focus on God and to grow in his love.
Nearly every Lent I hear people talking about what they have given up for God. My prayer this Lent is that we might remember all that God has given up for us and respond by challenging ourselves as a church to think about what we have to give back to God. Over the next few weeks we are going to be thinking about our stewardship of all that God has given to us. The theme of our worship each week will be about a different aspect of giving. Our giving will culminate in a parish day of thanksgiving and prayer on the 26th of March. Please put this date aside in your diaries. Following on from our morning services we will be spending some time in the afternoon in celebration and prayer and there will be an opportunity for us to pledge a new commitment of our time talent and gifts to the Lord.
Wishing you all a happy and holy Lent.
Rev. Andrew Smith
Vicar of Light in the Hills