Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Still Working

After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" 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 making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me." Jesus said to him, "Stand up, take your mat and walk." At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, "It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat." But he answered them, "The man who made me well said to me, 'Take up your mat and walk.'" They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Take it up and walk’?" Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, "See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you." The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath.
But Jesus answered them, "My Father is still working, and I also am working." For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God. John 5:1-18 
There are times, like today, when I sit in an airport, on another teaching mission,, that I think about being comfy at home, safe and sound. And yet, we are all called to use the gifts we have for the working of God's reign, for the healing of the world. The challenges of this new ministry are eclipsed by the blessings, healings and renewed relationships that I have witnessed. Sometimes we have to do our work in unorthodox ways, we have to go out to others, to the margins, often unseen and sometimes criticized by institutions. But God is still working ans we are all called to be a part of it.
Jesus helped a man who had been ill for countless years. The man had positioned himself well, doing all he could for his own healing, but never getting close enough. Then Jesus drew near and gave him the life he had so longed for. But it was the sabbath and no one was supposed to be working on that day. But God doesn't always work within human law and God is not bound by our conventions. God is still working, even when we are exhausted, weary and feeling incapable. God's activity is always about healing, renewal, and restoration.

As this traveling day comes to an end, I ask God to help me keep working, trusting that God is working overtime on our behalf. May we trust in God's desire to renew and restore all of creation, including all of us who get weary on this journey.

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