In the early Church this Gospel story
of the Man Born Blind was often acted as a play that brought the scene to life
for Christians. I took part in staging this Gospel story forty years ago. I was
filling in for the sick pastor of the parish attached to the University of Iowa,
and a young musician who headed the parish youth program suggested that we
stage the Gospel story as a musical drama. He hummed a simple tune for me,
asking me to use it for putting the story into verses.
The whole play was staged in a
Jerusalem market place, and I had the people sing this verse as they tended
their market stalls.
On the south side of Jerusalem,
within the city walls,
We people of the marketplace, we
tend our market stalls.
The Man Born Blind then stumbled
Our market and our synagogue are
the best that you could find,
We have our very own beggar here,
me, the Man Born Blind.
Next, the Pharisees came on the
scene, calling Jesus an outlaw who broke the Sabbath by curing people. Anyone
following him would be put out of the synagogue. The Pharisees announced
Make way, make way, for Pharisees,
for men who have no flaw.
We have a thing for purity, and
the letter of the law.
The Pharisees commanded the people
to fold up their stalls, because the sun sinking on Friday evening marks the
beginning of the Sabbath rest. The people sing,
The synagogue becomes our home
when the sun sinks out of sight
The last day of the weary week,
holy Sabbath, Friday night.
They told the Man he couldn’t
come, because blindness made him unclean.
Afterwards Jesus and his disciples
came on the scene, and Jesus, rubbing mud on the Man’s eyes told him to go wash
in the Pool of Siloam. At first, after he came back seeing the people couldn’t
believe it. Then, they saw his cure as a criminal matter to be reported to the
The play turns into a comedy when
we identify with the parents. “We know he is our son. And we know he was born
blind. But as to how he was made to see we do not know. Ask him, he is of
The Pharisees banished the Man
from the synagogue and marketplace. Left alone he laments.
Our synagogue and marketplace are
the best that you could find.
Why am I left in loneliness? Me,
the Man Born Blind.
Jesus came on the scene,
and the man adored him.