REV. RONALD A. BRAUER

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Gospel of John 9:1-7

As He passed by, [Jesus] saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Having said these things, He spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then He anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

Too bad Jesus couldn’t be walking around in our world today with the Coronavirus going around. Spread mud on someone’s face, go tell him to practice his face-washing hygiene, and come out cured from that virus. Simple solution.

The man who had been born blind endured a world of darkness, similar to what some people are beginning to equate our world to be with social distancing and staying at home. Things are beginning to look dark. And perhaps God is leading us down this path for His sanctified reason.

After all, hasn’t He called the world to repentance since the day when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit? Hadn’t He subjected the world to natural disasters like floods and earthquakes, droughts and pestilences before? All these were to call man to repentance. But would man listen?

2 Chronicles 7:13-14: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Those words still apply today. The coupon hasn’t expired; the freshness date is still good.

But the time will come when God’s grace will transition to judgment. Jesus will return in glory to judge the living and the dead. That we know will certainly take place. The signs we see today are the beginning of the birth pains as Jesus says in Matthew chapter 24, one of two chapters (add 25) where we can go to learn more of what will take place in the End Times.

But God’s grace continues even now…for you! The man born blind, as well as in the sight of God as spiritually dead and an enemy, is commanded to wash in the pool of Siloam, which means ‘sent’. He was both sent to this pool for washing, and he is now sent from this pool to bear witness. That this young man did. He was severely tested by the Pharisees who could not see (spiritually). And as you read the rest of Chapter 9 in John’s beloved Gospel, you’ll see how this man was turning the tables on those Pharisees!

You, too, were sent to the pool of your baptism to wash the mud of sin and blindness from your eyes. In those healing waters, you received forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation in Jesus who gives you sight to see God’s redeeming light.

You also go from that pool to tell others where they also may receive the sight of faith, to hear our Savior’s gracious words of life, and to join others in expressing the joy of salvation. And what a time such as now when our usual gatherings are curtailed and we ‘stay at home’ to allow passage of this disease. We continue to gather as God’s people even by Internet, social media, emails, phone calls, texts…any communication safe for this time, until by God’s grace and deliverance, our reunions may return. And I am imagining the first joyous reunion will be to celebrate the Resurrection, regardless when that time may come after we get the ‘all clear’ from our government and health officials.

In the meantime, we continue to pray, to read God’s Word, be inspired by the Words He brings us each day, and to lift others in prayer who need them, including those afflicted with this virus, the doctors and nurses attending to their care, the countless doctors, nurses, aides, and support staff who respond to various health issues…along with those whose jobs are curtailed in this strife…the list goes on. Yes, even we are continually being ‘sent’ to our time of prayer: May our eyes of faith be open to include these in our prayers as well, that they are given hope and support!

We pray: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Your mercies are new every morning; and though we deserve only punishment, You receive us as Your children and provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience;
We also pray for those in need, those who are afflicted by disease and virus, those who minister to them, to the doctors and nurses, first responders, EMTs, firefighters, and law enforcement officers who respond to provide service and mercy—be with them and guard and keep them from all harm and danger. Be with our government and public health officials as they gather and assess the information about the virus and how best to proceed with wisdom and insight. Bless our nations and the people of the world with knowledge to do what is best for the sake of others, to set aside personal gain in order to give time to heal, and return our lives to a new order that fulfills Your will. Throughout all this, let Your Word be proclaimed to the joy and building up of Your people, that others are called from the darkness of despair into the light of Your abundant and abiding mercy. We pray this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Our Father,…

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be and abide with you all. Amen.