And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. Matthew 9:1-8
We are a mobile society and we prize our independence and mobility more than we can even say. As Memorial Day approaches, the newscasters talk about the many millions of people who will be on the road this weekend. We think that independence and constant motion make us winners. And yet, over this year, due to a back injury, having lived with limited mobility and having had complete reliance on others, there is a true spiritual gift in dependence and relying on God and others for everything. When healing comes, when the "take up your bed and walk" moment happens, however limited that might be, there is a joy so deep and complete.
Jesus finds a very broken man by the side of the road and tells him he is forgiven. Folks think that he is blaspheming but instead he is unloosing the chains that have bound him. When he tells him to get up and go home, the man is both spiritual and physically healed. For so long the man has thought himself a failure, a disappointment, a mistake and a mess - that is what society puts on those who are broken and crippled in all sorts of ways. He is free to walk and to rejoice and go home, for he is free of all the chains that bind him. As we whirr past in this age, are we really as free as the paralytic, or moving fast so we don't see our chains and our need. God knows are need, and our chains and is always more ready to relieve us that we are ready to ask.
Today, for some, the burdens and the brokenness as too much to bear. When we come to that point we are asked to look to the one on the side of the road, the paralytic, the scorned, the cast aside and the broken. In their need we can see our need and offer our sin to God for healing and our bodies for their healing. Our highways and byways are littered with those we have cast off, but God is asking us to seek out our brokenness and be healed, and then offer our selves and our gifts for the healing of the world.