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March 19, 2023

What Is Your Story of “before and after”?

Pastor KJ Kim

John 9: 1-17, 35-41

We have listened and sung today’s story over and over again---'Amazing grace’—“how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.” Well, we know today’s story is not explanatory talk. Rather, this story is about time—before and after, then now who we were for years and years and who we are today—inviting everyone to rethink of this Lenten season, before and after, then, now who we become through this season.

Today’s story is not only about the man born blind, now given sight. In addition, this story is about those who are so sure that they are well sighted, with vision, but those who see in a wrong way, only see nothing important, because they try to see without referring to Jesus.

Yes, today’s story is about receiving a new world of possibility where the blind man sees brought by the power of God. This is the story about a new world which shatters all of our old blindness’s, all old fears, all old explanations, and all old controls.

I do not know how you all read yourself into today’s passage. The person born blind, but now sees; or the disciples who focus only on moral coherence by questioning “who sinned?,” not to focus on any new possible gift; or the neighbors who fail to recognize the blind man, and even spread a conspiracy; or the frightened parents of the blind man by saying “Don’t ask us—why and how—do not quote us;” or the Pharisees who drive the man out of the community in order to maintain the old world, and even do not realize that they are still blind.

My job this morning is to invite everyone into this drama for a moment of self-recognition and self-reflection in the presence of God. What is your story of “before and after?” Once we saw the world like this and that, now how we see the world differently. Once we lived in a place that we now see was blind to certain things, now how you see those certain things differently. These are the stories the church and Christians need to see and to hear.

Like the Pharisees in verse 27, the world still asks us—“Do you want to become his disciple?”

To say “yes” that question does not make us withdraw from the struggles of the world and even does not guarantee us to have a wider path in our lives. To say “yes” that question invites everyone to be there, in the midst of struggle, differently, as the ones who know about a new possibility, a new sight, a new vision, and a new understanding.

Once we were blind, but now we see. Perhaps, we can refuse to see by shutting our eyes. But that does not keep the light from doing its healing and transformative work of God for the people of God.

Thanks be to God.

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