Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Joy in Christ, a way of life

A message from Bishop Lane for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

To watch the video, click HERE


John 9:1-41


The Gospel for the Fourth Sunday in Lent is about seeing, that is, apprehending and understanding what’s right in front of us. The wonderful story of the man born blind, his healing, and his repartee with the Pharisees is a feast for the faithful. Do we, can we, see what God has put right in front of us?


That’s a question the bishops of the church discussed at our annual Lenten retreat this past week. Are we able, are we willing, to see what’s right in front of us? Can we perceive what God is up to?


The bishops had the opportunity to visit the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. The Legacy Museum documents the experience of Africans in the Americas beginning with slavery and continuing with the Reconstruction, lynching and mass incarceration. Twelve million Africans were sold into slavery. Two million died at sea. Three million reached North America. It took an Amendment to the Constitution to grant equal rights, much of them stripped away again in the Reconstruction. Today, the US holds a greater percentage of its people in jail than any other nation, and the percentage of people of color vastly outstrips their proportion of the population. It’s an enormous story, overwhelming, hard to get a hold of, difficult to think of an adequate response.


The man born blind was the victim of a narrative of inferiority, that his difference, his physical imperfection, made him unclean, unfit for life in society. The Legacy Museum tells the same story: a narrative of inferiority that makes a whole race unfit for life in society. What’s missing is the ability to see all people as human beings created in the image of God whom God loves. What isn’t seen is the love of God for all God has created, and God’s desire that we all flourish.


A question for us this Lent might be to ask, whom do we fail to see? Who is loved by God that we fail to love? Much of the ferment and foment of our time comes from people inviting us to see them, to acknowledge that their experience is real, that their suffering is real, and to understand that we can do something about it.


Whom do you need to see? Who is God raising up in your life that you need to love? Not with warm fuzzies, but with respect and dignity? To see their humanity? To see that they are beloved children of God?


May God grant us vision to see the beloved children God has placed in front of us and invited us to love.


God bless you.