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Thursday, 23 July 2020 07:00

I Wonder - A Reflection on Mark 8:22-26

 2020.26.I wonder main blog image

Praying imaginatively with Scripture is a gift. Grab your bible and read the story of the blind man being healed in Mark 8:22-26. Then slowly and prayerfully read through the reflection, pausing where the Spirit leads you to stop awhile.

I wonder why it was that others brought the blind man to Jesus – was it simply because he could not see, did he have a lack of faith, were other people hungry to see a miracle occur before their eyes to strengthen their own faith, or did they deeply care about the man and want to see him healed.

I wonder who it was that brought the blind man to Jesus – family, friends, a concerned neighbour, someone in need of a faith boost themself, or someone unexpected.

I wonder where the blind man was when some of the villagers came to fetch him in order to take him to Jesus – was he eating his breakfast, or perhaps his lunch if it were later in the day. Was he going about his day, was he working, doing the tasks he had learned to do without sight?

I wonder if the man had heard that Jesus was coming, and if he knew much about him. Was he familiar with his name, and had he heard of others being healed and hoped for his own miracle story? I wonder if the man had faith and believed such things were possible.

I wonder how the villagers encouraged him to come – did they simply take him by the arm and lead him to the place where Jesus was, did they let him know where they were taking him. Did they chatter along the way, sharing their own faith, hopes or excitement? I wonder if they hurried him along or if they walked slowly taking care to be his eyes and lovingly warning him where to step and which tree branches to duck for.

I wonder what his relationship with these villagers – and with other villagers was like – was he scorned and rejected because he was blind? Did others consider him a nuisance and deride him? Were there some who encouraged and loved him, treating him no different to others?

I wonder what the blind man experienced as he was on his way, being led to the place in the village where Jesus was. Being blind, perhaps his other senses were more acute, so I wonder what he smelt as he walked, how the ground felt under his feet, whether the sun warmed his back, whether he could feel a breeze or drops of rain on his face.

I wonder what the blind man was thinking as he heard the other villagers begin to beg Jesus to heal him. Was he a willing participant, or did he want to turn and run a million miles? I wonder if he could sense a gaze of love from Jesus even as he stood in his presence, seen by him yet unable to see in return.

I wonder what the other villagers actually said when they were begging Jesus – what was the case that they presented for imploring Jesus to work this miracle. I wonder how the blind man felt about being the focus of attention in the midst of a growing crowd. Did it make him feel comfortable, uncomfortable?

I wonder about the faith of the blind man – did he believe that Jesus could do something, or that Jesus would want to do something? I wonder how the man really felt about being blind. Had he grown to accept it, was it a source of great vulnerability, particularly when it made him the focus of attention. Was healing something he hope for, desired or had he just come to a point where he assumed he would be blind for his whole life?

I wonder how the blind man felt when Jesus took him by the hand and started to lead him away. I wonder what Jesus’ hand felt like – whether it was warm and soft, whether it was a little rough and weathered, whether he held his hand loosely or firmly. I wonder which hand he held and whether they walked side by side or whether Jesus was slightly in front. I wonder if the way Jesus held his hand gave him confidence and enabled him to already feel safe. I wonder if Jesus was talking to him as they walked, or if it were silent?

I wonder how the man felt to be alone with Jesus – how much he knew about him, whether he had heard stories of others being healed and was desperately hoping the same might happen for him. I wonder if he realised that many other miracles of healing had taken place in the middle of a crowd, and that it was unique and intimate that Jesus had drawn him away to be alone with him.

I wonder how long they were walking for – how long it took to get ‘out of the village’ and where they actually went. Did they stop up a hill, in a field, under the shelter of a tree?

I wonder what happened in the man when Jesus put saliva on his eyes? Did he know it was saliva? Had he heard Jesus spit on his fingers and wondered what was coming next? Did the warmth of it soothe his aching eyes? I wonder how it felt to have Jesus touch the most vulnerable part of him – his eyes, his blind eyes, his eyes that made him different because he could not see like others. To touch his most vulnerable part with saliva, with spittle.

I wonder where he touched him after placing spittle on his eyes – was it just on his eyes, or was there a hand of comfort on his shoulder, a gentle reassuring stroke of his face, a return to holding his hand to give him a sense of security.

I wonder what was happening in the man as Jesus touched him – where he felt it in his body – his eyes or more broadly. Was there a feeling of warmth, was he aware that something profound was taking place?

I wonder if when Jesus asked the blind man if he could see anything if it was the first time that he heard Jesus spoke. Whether it was or not, I wonder how he would have described Jesus’ voice – strong, confident, comforting, encouraging, loving?

I wonder what was going through the blind man’s mind as he began to raise his head to look up – was he hopeful, expectant? What was the best-case scenario in his mind at this time? I wonder if he was thinking that he would be able to see?

I wonder what the voice of the blind man sounded like as he spoke, as he said that he could see people walking but that they looked like trees. Was his voice celebratory, grateful, hopeful, disappointed?

I wonder how the blind man felt – did he think this was better already than being totally blind, making him grateful for what had already taken place. Did he feel at this point like his hoped were dashed?

I wonder what the blind man was thinking and feeling as Jesus laid hands on his eyes again. I wonder if it felt the same or different to the first time Jesus had laid hands on his eyes

I wonder what happened when Jesus removed his hands and the blind man began to look intently. Did he blink a few times? Did he immediately realise that his full sight had been restored?

I wonder what the realization of full sight was like, as he saw everything clearly. I wonder what he noticed first – the colour and shapes of the leaves on the trees, the strong tree trunks, the blue sky tinged with wispy white clouds, the gravel road well worn by villagers as they had walked along, the people in the distance who he had not seen in this way for a long time, his own body and how it had changed since he had last been able to see many years before.

I wonder what he saw when he looked at Jesus, the one who had healed him, the one who had worked a miracle which meant that he could now see everything clearly. What did he experience as he looked into Jesus’ eyes?

I wonder what the blind man thought when Jesus sent him home, telling him not to go into the village. Did he wonder why? Was he longing to rejoice surrounded by the villagers, or grateful for some quiet moments to silently rejoice and thank God for this miraculous change in his life?

I wonder if the man knew the way home, if through his years of blindness, he had developed an internal map in his mind of the village and the area around it so that he knew where to walk? I wonder if the healing of his eyes had brought a new confidence to him that penetrated his entire being. I wonder if Jesus left him there or if he walked part of the way back with him, and if they did whether they were silent companions or engaged on conversation. .

I wonder where the other villagers were actually waiting. Were they close – had they followed at a distance, hoping to witness what took place, even as Jesus had led him away. I wonder when the man spoke to them and shared his story. I wonder who he told first and what his account of the events was like.

I wonder what happened the next day. How had the man’s life changed? How did he adjust to his new identity, given that he was no longer the blind man. I wonder how he allowed this gift of an encounter to change him at the deepest possible level.

Mel Edwards