The psalter has no Saturday morning lauds.
Vespers, yes. Lauds, no. No morning lauds on Saturday.
I’m working my way into the rhythm of fixed-hours prayer.
Gradually. As in, I’m not sure I’ve made any progress. I switched up my normal morning time together with God to a prayer book to help me find my way into the practice. So to date, the morning continues on as before, just spent with the Psalms in the morning lauds instead of my usual reading to lead me into prayer.
Adding the intentional midday, vespers and compline? We’re getting there, though it’s admittedly a lot more like uneven than fixed.
But here’s the thing about Saturday: there are no morning lauds.
Parking the Car
I spend my Saturday morning with God somewhere else, somewhere of my own choosing, somewhere without a street name that’s unfamiliar to one who grew up inside the church but outside the traditions of liturgy and psalters and books of common prayer.
Saturday I steered the car over to John 9. A chapter full of mud and spit, finger-pointing and point-missing, and a roadside theologian/comedian with a white cane and a tin cup who got booed right off the temple stage.
I parked the car and stayed for the show, something the schedule hasn’t been kind enough to allow much of lately.
And it was so much fun.
Roll down your window and tip the seat back a little. We’re sticking around for a few days.
Missing the Point
It’s always a good sign when I can’t make it past the second verse.
As Jesus and His guys walked along, they came across a blind man. Blind from birth. How they knew, we don’t know. But they knew.
Just like they knew that it had to be somebody’s fault.
If a guy is blind, and it’s not because he was struck by some sight-eating disease or injured in an eye-damaging accident, then somebody messed up somewhere. That was the only way they could see it.
And the big question was Who screwed up?
Did he sin? Or was it his parents?
Jesus, they seemed to say, Here’s this guy by the side of the road, oozing sin. He’s screaming “object lesson.” So seize the teachable moment. Teach us about sin.
Tell us the most important thing: Who did it?
Jesus, in fact always on the lookout for opportunities to pour the life of His teaching into His guys, did seize the moment. His answer?
The man was blind due to neither his own nor his parents’ sin.
It was nobody’s fault. He was blind by design.
This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in Him. (vs. 3)
It was all about this moment, one in which His power would be unleashed to give something amazing to this man who had never once seen a sunset or his own face in the mirror or his mother’s tender smile. Here, today, he would see.
While the disciples reduced him to no more than an object lesson on the horrible consequences of (somebody else’s) sin, Jesus saw not just a teaching moment but a healing moment.
He moved toward the blind man in raw compassion rather than standing at a distance to apply His intellect to this theological riddle of a man.
I’m Blind Too, I Guess
Not long ago I looked hard into the eyes another feeling like the sightless one on the roadside, wondering why the pain had come, and why it had come in the way it had. As I listened, standing limp and powerless, the ache overtook me too. I considered the blind man of whom I’d just read in John 9.
Blind so God could display His wonders.
Was He now working in this beautiful one’s life in order to display His greatness? Where’s the raw compassion in that?
Leaning shoulder to shaking shoulder on the back of a wooden pew, I said I thought God was crazy (and I meant that in the most reverent way possible), but I wasn’t quite sure what kind of crazy. Seems that it takes a twisted up kind of crazy to mess somebody up just to fix them.
But wasn’t that just what He did here? He brought us a blind man so we could see Him with a brand new pair of eyes.
I tell God that I think He could come off as pretty amazing by having a fellow born seeing as much as by working it out later. But even as I begin to question His goodness at doing a thing in such a mangled up order, I wonder if that’s part of my own blindness at work.
For I don’t marvel as well at a baby born with two eyes that see so much as I would at a grown man seeing the light for the very first time.