Thursday, January 13, 2011

How much do you really like these people?

Hey everybody and a quick apology for missing the past two days - snow days can effect even blogs it seems.  Anyway.  I don't actually have a lot (in length) to share today, but what the gospel passage from today's lectionary is both simple and important.  
The lectionary passage (which can be found here: ) includes the a gospel passage from Mark 2.  This is one of my favorite gospel stories and it is a pretty well known one as well.  It is a story of a miraculous healing - in this case the healing of a paralytic.  But in a change from most healing or miracle stories this particular one is unique or interesting because how the man in need of healing gets to Jesus.  
In the passage we find Jesus teaching in a house and the people gathered around to listen and hear are so many that the crowd spills outside of the house, likely crowded around doors and windows, struggling to hear what Jesus has to say.  
Entering into the story are four friends of the paralytic man.  They have brought the man to Jesus, hoping - and believing that Jesus would heal him.  But they can't get to him.  Undeterred, the friends climb up onto the roof of the house, bring the man up with them, and then proceed to cut a hole in the roof of the home and them lower him down to Jesus and, well we know the rest of the story.  
As I say what I am about to say, it is important to recognize that it is clearly Jesus that does the healing and that is, obviously, the hard part.  
But what I want to think about a little bit is the role the friends of the man played in his healing.  Jesus did the healing, but his friends played a crucial role in getting the man and Jesus (literally) in the same room, as it were.  There were lots of people that needed healing that came to Jesus directly or that called out to him as he passed by and so on.  But some - this paralytic in particular, needed to be brought to or led to Jesus.  
What is my point?  
Simply that one of, if not the primary roles of a Christian is to bring our broken and hurting friends (those that need Jesus healing touch) to see Jesus.  Nothing more, but nothing less.
We talk about all the different ways to do that, and they are all important: sharing Jesus with the way we live, what we choose buy, what we invest our time and money in, etc.  But often, if not always, the path you take with someone else, leading them towards Jesus is only begun with a willingness to actually talk about Jesus. 
Put simply, if we really believe that Jesus is the savior, and that in and through Jesus we can be healed and made whole - then how in the world can we not be willing to talk about Jesus, to talk about our faith and to share with those around us - not strangers, but our friends - the difference God has made in our lives.  
For whatever reason, this is never as easy as it should be.  I am a minister (so this is supposed to be what I am good at, right?), and it is often difficult or uncomfortable for me.  
But it couldn't have been easy for the friends of the paralyzed man to get him to Jesus either. 
I think it is our first challenge as Christians to begin to take seriously our call to live and talk intentionally in a way that can lead others into a relationship with Jesus Christ

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