The Rev. John Barnette

The Rev. John Barnette

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Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” John 9:39-41

Most of us are well aware of our own limitations. Each of us knows, for the most part, what we can and cannot do. For example, I know that I cannot dunk a basketball or solve multivariable calculus equations. Knowledge of our limitations often determines what we try to do with our lives. Like blinders on a horse, which restrict the horse’s vision to only what is right in front of them, our limitations also serve as blinders. They narrow our focus to those goals that we are most likely to accomplish successfully, grounding us in reality and keeping our expectations realistic.

Although blinders have their advantages, they can also be detrimental. When we narrow our focus, our worldview can also be narrowed. Unable to see what is going on in the periphery, we may miss possibilities that are waiting for us just out of sight. We can miss opportunities to experience something new, that was once unimaginable.

The truth is, we have spiritual blinders as well. Too often, we view God, his children, and Jesus through a very narrow lens. In doing so, we can miss out on spectacular things.

So, I want to ask you: What would happen if our spiritual blinders were removed? Instead of being like the Pharisees in John 9:35-39, who couldn’t see the miracle Jesus had just performed because of their restricted view of God, what if we remove the limitations that we place on Jesus, step back to take in the whole picture, and, in faith, open ourselves to the possibility that Jesus is at work in the most unexpected places and in the most unexpected ways? What if we accept that Jesus is much bigger than we often imagine him and that he is not constrained by our limited knowledge of him?

We tend to think Jesus is only present in certain places and only works in certain ways, much like the Pharisees viewed God. We can easily picture Jesus in our churches, sitting with fellow believers. However, it can be hard to think of Jesus hanging out with a homeless man, sleeping on a park bench. Because of our limited view of Jesus, we often miss seeing what he is up to in the world around us. Jesus does not only show up in the places we expect to see him; he is showing up everywhere. Jesus is showing up in our churches, as well as in our homeless shelters. He is showing up in our houses, as well as in the back alleys of our cities. He is also hanging out with the most unexpected people. He is not only with the priests and deacons of our churches, but he is also with the businessman stuck at work until late at night, the mother trying to get her kids to eat their peas at dinner, and the neighbor down the street who is struggling with addiction.

Jesus is showing up all over the place and working miracles in the lives of sinners and saints alike, planting the seeds of the kingdom wherever he is. We just need to be willing to see it. Amen.

The Rev. John Barnette is the new pastor at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Port Charlotte. He can be reached at johnd

barnette1@gmail.com. To submit a Sermon of the Week, email newstips@yoursun.com.

This article originally ran on yoursun.com.

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