Friday, April 19, 2013

Stuck in the Middle

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

I was supposed to make it all the way to Albuquerque tonight but due to weather and other delays I am stuck in Salt Lake City. Partway, but not there yet. Caught in the middle with nothing but waiting, resting and dealing with the change in plans and a different, unexpected horizon. The airline was actually quite helpful and provided a room for the night and vouchers etc. But going with a radical change of plans is still a shock and waiting is always a challenge.

Jesus is healing people who he comes across. He doesn't expect much from them but that they want to be healed. These folks needing healing are caught in the middle of an on-going theological argument that swirls around them. The questions come as a barrage as Jesus is trying to care for a man and make him able to walk. Such changes to normal life was enough for the healed man to handle, but he was caught in the middle of annoying church leadership. Their argument was out of his control. He went on his way, shocked, surprised and thrilled to be walking at all. God brought him love and healing despite the mess he was caught him and in spite of being caught in the religious middle. God invites us to see the blessings and receive healing despite the messes, delays and conflicts we might be caught in.

Today, as I go forward on my way, I ask God to help me see the blessings in the middle of everything, no matter what swirls around. May we all rejoice in getting up and walking, despite the controversies that might distract us. May we focus on the love we have received so that we might reach out to others where ever we might be. And may we, who may be caught in the middle, thrill in the blessings we have, right where we are.

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