Hello friends! Sorry again this is coming in the evening rather than the morning. Still playing catch up from the holiday weekend. Starting tomorrow everything will be back on a normal schedule. Today we keep going in John's Gospel with a long segment about blindness and what it means to be able to "truly see." It ends with Jesus revealing himself as Messiah to his disciples. Remember that Jesus had already revealed himself as Messiah to the women at the well at the very beginning of John's gospel. This long section about "blindness" is a frustrated Jesus lamenting that he even has to spell it out for his disciples. What steps do you take in your faith practices to keep your "spiritual vision" 20/20 and seeing God's movement around you each day?
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this teach me about Jesus?
What is the "meaning" of this text?
What, if anything, is meaningful to me about this text? What does it inspire me to do as a result?
- (Historical) Context -
A few days ago I shared with you that the purpose of John's gospel is to be metaphorical rather than meticulous in its details. This is because John's gospel did not need to be detail oriented as other documents at the time were. When we think of the "other documents" you might immediately think of the gospels, I know I do because we are actively comparing the four gospels. However, by the year 120 almost all of Paul's epistles would have been "official" church canon as well as well as plenty of other witness accounts and even early church hymns. It is safe to say that by the time of John's publication there would have been clearly defined "Jews" and "Christians" (I use quotes because I don't know the exact point the term Christian began being used).
There is some evidence in John's gospel to reinforce this, as well. Whenever John references any prophecies about Jesus from the Old Testament he refers to them as "their scriptures" (pointing towards the Pharisees.) It's super important for us as modern readers to not separate the Jewish from Jesus - to not label it as "ours" and "theirs" when thinking about holy documents. It's also important to not treat Christianity as an evolution of Judaism (as one in is "better" or more "progressed" than the other) but rather an offshoot from a universal trunk.
- Fun Fact -
Considering that today's reading is the first example to prove that there were separate churches at the time for Christian based "jews" I thought it would be fun to share with you some information about the first recorded hymn in the church - Oxyrhynchus
The surviving document was found in 1918 and is in the key of F with a message about the Trinity. The lyrics are fragmented as the papyrus is partly missing but the lyrics that we do have are below.
. . . together all the eminent ones of God. . .
. . . night] nor day (?) Let it/them be silent. Let the luminous stars not [. . .],
. . . [Let the rushings of winds, the sources] of all surging rivers [cease]. While we hymn
Father and Son and Holy Spirit, let all the powers answer, "Amen, amen, Strength, praise,
[and glory forever to God], the sole giver of all good things. Amen, amen."
Praying the Hymn
Our prayer today is Heal Me, Hands of Jesus. I invite you to join in mind, body, and spirit as you lift your prayer to God's healing hands :)
1 Heal me, hands of Jesus, and search out all my pain; restore my hope, remove my fear, and bring me peace again.
2 Cleanse me, blood of Jesus, take bitterness away; let me forgive as one forgiven and bring me peace today.
3 Know me, mind of Jesus, and show me all my sin; dispel the memories of guilt and bring me peace within.
4 Fill me, joy of Jesus; anxiety shall cease, and heaven's serenity be mine, for Jesus brings me peace!