Saturday, January 17, 2009
Stretch out your hand
"'Stretch out your hand.' He stretched it out and it was completely restored."
There was a time in a child's life when they got just big enough to ride the carousel, the big carousel with the fast horses. Some children have been fortunate enough to rise a carousel with a brass ring, which every single person wanted to reach out and grab. You got a free ride or a prize if you could capture the ring. But you had to ride an outside horse and be whipped around, and often stand up in the stirrups and lean way, way out. It was an act of faith, imagining what went by way too fast and then grasping it and remaining balanced on the following times round. It was a nearly impossible feat for most of us. And yet, the reaching out and the faith were all important, all essential to experience the ride. Most kids now have no idea about carousels and brass rings, but those of us lucky enough to have the experience remember the exquisite trying and the endless possibility.
Jesus is up against the rule makers again, who don't want him healing (or breaking any of the work restrictions) on the sabbath. They fail to look at the man in front of them. The man who, more than anything wants to have a chance to be normal, to work, to reach out, to grasp a little bit of life with his useless hand. He has no greed, just the exquisite desire to know wholeness. He just wanted a little bit of the prize, a little bit of the normal life. We so often overlook people because they don't measure up or fit the standards. We would bind them with the rules rather than give them a chance to rise. To live and grasp the fullness of life. Jesus would have all of us reach beyond our personal and societal barriers so that others might thrive. Jesus asks us to stretch a little so that others might be touched by love.
May we today, act like enthusiastic children, who imagine the impossible, leaning out and reaching all the way. May we offer the love and faith we have so that others might thrive. May difference not separate us but unite us in our caring for others. For Christ stretched out his arms for us so that we might live. May we welcome others with outstretched hands, so that Christ love might be known every day.