Saturday, December 31, 2011
Waiting at the Edge
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. John 5:1-15
Here we are on the edge of a new year. It's New Years Eve and all week people have been looking back and commenting on the year we have lived, who has been lost, and some make predictions for the new year. It has been a challenging year for many and for some, down right hard. We've had our share of bumps and blessings. We stand on the edge, between one year and the next, all regrets behind us and all possibilities waiting around the corner. It's easy to hope next year will be better. It's another to imagine what might be and put it in motion.
Jesus finds a man waiting on the edge of the healing pool, a man who has almost made it for many years. He wants desperately to be better. Folks around him condemn him as a failure, they don't help him, they just judge him. When Jesus finds him, he is still clinging to hope despite all of the evidence to the contrary. And so he is healed by Jesus and cannot contain his joy. The religious leaders condemn the act, since it was the sabbath, but everyone else understands that God touched him and that God's love and strength was among them. The hope and joy could not be contained. Jesus came near and everything changed.
Today, I want to enter the New Year hopeful and expectant. No matter how dire things get, I want to remember and live knowing God is close by and healing and growth are not far off. May this be a year that brings restoration and healing to all, and may we, who follow the way of incarnate love, be bearers of love and hope to others in the coming year.