Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Through the Roof

While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.” Luke 5:12-26

Tonight I am packing my bags again. I get on a plane early in the morning to travel to clergy conference and diocesan convention. So new in this place and now on the move again. I am feeling conflicted, wanting to stay put for a while and knowing that I am called to take my place with the other clergy and people. It is the time in the life of the church, that together we have to find new ways to do ministry. We have to use our resources and our creativity and find ways to reach those who have been shut out and set aside.

Jesus was caring for all sorts of people, restoring their limbs and making infected bodies clean. Many wanted to find fault in these individuals, believing their illness was brought on by their sin or their failure. Good faithful people avoided them and treated them as outcasts and abominations. But Jesus considered them his friends and worthy of all good measures. He took time to be with them, learn their story and bring them to healing. The friends of the lame man were so moved by Jesus' care that they found a way in to the building when there was none. When all the well-intentioned, good-meaning people were keeping those in need away, love found a way to bring the man to healing.

Today, I ask God to help me be an agent of healing. May I not stand in the way but rather make new ways forward for those who have been shut out. May we all be those who will cut through the roof for the sake of others. May we use our blessings and skills for the care of those who have been refused, left behind and turned away. May God shine through us as we serve those who no one but God chooses as followers.

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