At Ḟaithworks we have been exploring stories from the gospel of John.
In this week’s story, (John 9:1-41) Jesus helps a person who has been blind since birth. According to the religious Law at that time (Leviticus 21:16–24), people with certain illnesses (for example, blindness, being lame, skin and eye diseases) were excluded from the worshipping community because they were considered ritually impure. In biblical times, many also believed that conditions such as leprosy and blindness were punishment for sin. In the story, Jesus heals a blind man on the Sabbath and rules honoring the Sabbath were very important at that time because they helped the people maintain their Jewish identity as they lived under Roman domain. So, the Sabbath was a day set aside to worship God. Like coming to worship service on Sundays at the present time.
In our group, older children are very aware of the rules of social convention, behaviors, and traditions. How often have they heard or said themselves: “You can’t do that! It’s against the rules!”? Even though they can appreciate the importance of rules and laws that reassure respect and concern for their safety, they are often quick to challenge those that seem unfair or obsolete. They are suspicious of rules at school or home that are in place for the convenience of those in authority. And yet, they often set their own rules for acceptance and what is required to belong to a group.
This Sunday’s Bible story about the healing of the man born blind, may raise important questions about the rules that contribute to healthy relationships and rules that limit them. In Jesus’ actions, our young people can find a role model for courageous ways of helping and caring for those in need. Jesus shows that there are no limits to love, especially when rules and social conventions hold people captive, oppressed, or silenced.
I pray that as we explore this story together, we will come to new understandings about discipleship and the choices we need to make.
All children and youth are welcome to join us for Bible story time and activities on the 2nd floor after the time of conversation with the pastor. Childcare is available for children 4 and under on the 2nd floor as well.