3/2/03, Transfiguration Sunday, Year B
a Blind Mind
In his history of humanity, THE EVERLASTING MAN, G. K. Chesterton, one of the most gifted writers of the Twentieth Century, began with the cave man. His was not so much speculation about how they lived, but what the so called prehistoric cave dwellers thought. He tells of a Priest and a boy who discovered a cave opening and crawled far down into the bowels of the earth. Finally they came upon a large hewed out room that showed evidence of being an ancient dwelling place. The most interesting thing was a large mural painted on the wall. There was a long beautifully drawn horizontal curve which would speak to any thoughtful person as an image painted by a fellow human being of far distant mountains. In the foreground there was an image of a deer caught drinking from a lake that had turned his head to look back at the intruder. The artist had captured the exact expression that a deer has in that situation. It is obvious that a talented person was gracefully recording a moment in time, and telling a story from his life. So, why do we call this fellow sojourner a prehistoric cave man, or woman? It is obvious that it took a human to record this moment in time. This person possessed a beautiful mind, like ours, capable of sensory perception, memory, insight and cognitive contemplation. Certainly, he or she did not know the scientific things that we know, but they were probably just as intelligent as we.
The point is that a mind is a beautiful thing which gives us consciousness and unconscious life. God created Adam as a special human being, in His own image, and breathed into him a living soul, but His sons did later marry women from tribes who obviously had come before. Some speculate that they later received their "spark of the Divine" from the subsequent ongoing cycle of marriage and birth. But however it happened, we do know that in today's world every human being is a creature with a mind that is capable of beauty, but is sometimes "veiled or blinded." Our text is saying that we have the choice between a blinded mind, or a beautiful mind.
When we hear this phrase, we recollect the motion picture by the same name, "A Beautiful Mind," that was built around the life of John Nash who was born with a beautiful mathematically genius mind. During his Ph.D. studies he made an astonishing discovery that brought him international recognition. However, soon the dapper young professor began to sink deep into schizophrenia. After years of dark episodes he realized, in one of his sane moments, that a person in his imaginary world had not aged and was therefore not real. He devised a method of logically denying the existence of these imaginary characters and soon learned to largely keep them at bay. He soon regained the love of his wife, the respect of his peers and was awarded a Nobel Prize. He also recovered his beautiful mathematical mind.
In our epistle for Transfiguration Sunday, we hear Saint Paul saying that, "the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel." Paul further says that, "The gospel is veiled to those who are perishing." Many live in spiritual blindness. Sin, Satan, the god of this world, situations, geography, family patterns, and other conditions have veiled the gospel from some. Perhaps they have heard God's love in Christ preached, witnessed, or sung, but have turned a blind mind to it. Most of you have been fortunate to have been reared in a home where it was so natural for you to believe that the same loving Savior that had saved your parents also loved you. Ninety percent of who I am or ever hope to be I owe to my sainted parents.
My friend in ministry, The Rev. LeRoy Smith, who was blinded as a child, often says that, "Physical blindness is bad but spiritual blindness is much worse." Many folks have received spiritual sight through the ministry of Brother LeRoy who is physically blind, but is a spiritual giant.
Every person that I have ever known who would, in my limited estimation, qualify as a spiritual giant would admit right off that whatever measure of spiritual development that they have made is all because of the work of God's Holy Spirit, through the vicarious atonement of the Christ of the Cross. Saint Paul echoes these words in his letter, "For it is God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
It is the light of Christ that dispels darkness and gives us light in our hearts and minds. Is it any wonder that most colleges that have a Christian heritage have a lamp of learning and spiritual light on their seal? Of course, like some individuals, many institutions of higher learning have forgotten the spiritual part of their lamp and now trust entirely in secular learning to provide its limited light.
The Good News is that God wants to shine forth the light of His gospel into our blinded mind and transfigure it into a beautiful mind. A new friend excitedly shared with me this week in the auto shop waiting room about the restoration of a 1938 Harley Davidson motorcycle. Craftsmen laboriously cleaned, restored and rebuilt the old machine and made it like new. And God wants to do that with you.
a sermon synopsis
by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor