On 26 March, the fourth Sunday of Lent, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 23, Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9:1-41.
A few years ago a 40 year old woman, Joanne Milne, from Gateshead in the North East of England, became famous, something she probably never expected to be. She was born deaf and was given cochlear implants to allow her to hear. Having waited four weeks from the operation, the implants were switched on and the first few minutes in the hearing world for Joanne were filmed. The film went viral on YouTube. Joanne was in tears as she heard the days of the week spoken by a nurse. Later she explained how amazing it was to hear running water, birds calling as they flew overhead, the light switch as it clicked, the voices and laughter of herself and friends. Having been aware of the lack of one of her senses, Joanne was learning what it was like to experience something completely new.
I think the man in our gospel story would have a good understanding of just how Joanne felt. He was born blind and was also fully adult. He had lived all his life in darkness, unable to see around him, reduced to begging to make a living. Whereas Joanne hopefully received sympathy and consideration in her life as a result of her difficulty, the man (or his parents) were suspected of being sinners and hence causing the blindness. Poor man! Continue reading