“Look Instead for What God Can Do” March 19, 2023

“Look Instead for What God Can Do” March 19, 2023

Posted by on Jul 17, 2023 in Sermon archives

“Look Instead For What God Can Do”

1 Samuel 16:1-13

Psalm 23

Ephesians 5:8-14

John 9:1-41

In the September 16th, 2011 edition of Time magazine, Megan Friedman wrote, “When it comes to Pat Robertson, sometimes truth and fiction are hard to distinguish. On The 700 Club in 2005, Robertson blamed Hurricane Katrina on the issue of abortion in John Roberts’ Supreme Court nomination. Around the same time, Dateline Hollywood published a satirical article claiming Robertson said selecting New Orleans native Ellen DeGeneres, a lesbian, to host the Emmy Awards caused the hurricane. The joke became a widespread Internet rumor that, given Robertson’s track record, was perhaps too easy to take seriously.”

But wait, there’s more, she went on to say. “Pat Robertson’s comments in the aftermath of Jan. 12’s massive earthquake near the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince might be his most questionable yet. In a Jan. 13 appearance on The 700 Club, Robertson used a shaky bit of history to imply that the quake was divine retribution for Haitian voodoo doctors enlisting the help of Satan to free their country from the French some 200 years ago. A statement put out later by a Robertson rep attempted to clarify that the reverend had merely meant to speculate on why the impoverished country has long been cursed — not that there was any particular impetus from above for this latest misfortune. Some consolation.”

Now, we might view these statements by Mr. Robertson as nothing more than bad theology or a carefully designed dialogue to hold the attention of the million plus viewers that watch Robertson’s TV program every day. Either way, There is one thing that is clear: we love it when God gets even. What’s more, History tells us that we love it even more when we can give This vengeful God a hand in the getting even process. from the Crusades To the burning of witches, We have proved over and over in the past that vengeance in the name of the Lord Is perhaps the worst defamation of the name of God possible. But at the time, it was gratifying. At the time, doing harm in the name of God brought to some a sense of power.

(Jn 9:1) Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?” 3-5 Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.”  Look instead for what God can do.

And that, without question, has to be the prevailing theme of our gospel message today: Look instead for what God can do.

In this, the story of the blind man, John paints a picture that, unfortunately, seems all too true even today. “, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?” Jesus replied that we are not to have any part of the blame game, telling his disciples to look instead for what God can do. But the ironic part of this story is that when Jesus actually shows us what God can do by healing this man who was blind from birth, People flipped out.

when Jesus demonstrated what God can do, he was met with suspicion, he was met with Pettiness that he had healed this man on the Sabbath. and he was met with anger.

you have to wonder that if Jesus would have addressed the crowd saying something like, “this man is blind Because  his parents supported the Romans or his sister was an adulteress, or (what the heck) he was left-handed – you have to wonder if Jesus would have announced a reason for his blindness then the crowd might have walked away satisfied.

But he didn’t. Instead, he showed compassion through healing, redemption, even forgiveness. By giving sight to a man blind from birth with the lowly status of a beggar; a man considered a burden on the community. By doing this one thing Jesus invited them (and us) to look for what God can do.

The sociologist and Baptist pastor, Tony Campolo, has a short video out called Birthday Party. In this video, he tells of frequenting a diner in Honolulu At three in the morning due to insomnia. As it turns out, this is the time of night that the local prostitutes came in for breakfast. After A few visits. Tony got to know them fairly well- Enough that he discovered that one of the girls, Agnes, had a birthday coming up. Sadly, when he asked her if she was having a party she replied that she had never had a birthday party in her life. At this point Mr.Campolo sprang into action. He made arrangements with the owner of the diner to decorate this greasy spoon like never before. he bought a cake and presents and when the birthday arrived Agnes’ face was covered with tears. It was a beautiful moment.

Later, the owner asked Mr. Campolo With a big smile what church he belonged to.  “I belong to the church that throws birthday parties for prostitutes at 3:30 in the morning,” Tony said.  “No you don’t,” the owner said, “because if you did I would go to that church.”

Look instead for what God can do. Look for those moments when God is calling us away from judgment, confident that we know the mind of our God. look instead for what God can do by giving us the courage and the will to step out in love and do something totally outlandish and radical and even a little inappropriate. If Jesus has taught us anything at all it is that it’s much easier to love those who will love you back, But it is oh so rewarding to love those who don’t.

Jesus told his disciples, “I am the world’s light. I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.” To live in this light is to know the joy of salvation. to live in this light is to know the joy of a faith community. to live in this light is to be at peace in the love of Christ.

So let’s start looking. what do you think? Let’s start looking with an open heart at what God can do: not at what God will do or what God might do, but at the possibilities. the endless possibilities, of what God can do. Who knows but that it might become a real eye opener once we begin.

Amen and Shalom



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