The Scriptural texts for this morning tell good stories. I especially always like hearing how David became king. What a surprise for his family! When Samuel came to speak to Jesse and asked to meet his sons, (1 Sm 16) nobody even gave a thought to David, the youngest, who was probably happy living in obscurity, spending his days with the sheep of his father’s fields. And this time when Jesus cured a blind person it wasn’t because the man was crying out asking Jesus for healing, as in the similar gospel stories, but rather just because of a question from the disciples about why the man was blind in the first place. (Jn 9). What got me thinking, however, was the reading in the middle (Eph 5:8-14) that begins with a startling teaser if we don’t read it quickly. At least in my translation we might think it reads: Brothers and sisters, you were once IN darkness but now you are IN light in the Lord…but there are no prepositions preceding the words darkness and light! What Paul seems to be saying is that our identity was darkness and living in God changes our very existence into light.
Think about David. What was it that made Samuel know David was the one? He must have seen something in Jesse’s youngest son that did not exist in any of David’s brothers. Maybe he was able to become light because of spending so much time in the natural world, watching things grow and observing the behavior of the animals – probably without much human interaction. Somehow, light had found a home in him, perhaps because of this simpler existence. After Jesus cured the blind man, his life got much more complicated. Maybe Jesus (and whoever asked the question about sin) saw something of light in him already that made him noticeable and that got strengthened enough for him to withstand all the repetitious questions about whose fault the blindness had been and what that said about who Jesus was.
If we think about it, we might conclude that in some ways it’s easier to be darkness. There’s less responsibility in the darkness where most of us sleep for the majority of the time. If we become light, people notice us. We shine so we have to be sure what we’re manifesting to the world is good, motivating others to justice and love and peace, for example.
It took a long time for David to find his way to manage the light that was in him, making good choices and not taking advantage of the love God clearly had for him. When he learned those lessons, however, how his brilliance shone for all to see! And the man born blind? My guess is that, after all the hubbub about his cure died down, he was blown away by all the color and beauty in the world that made him a very happy, shining presence.
Perhaps the moral of this story is that the possibility of “being light” is in all of us. The question we probably need to answer is how willing we are to stand in the light so others can see and benefit from our presence.