Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 19; 150, Joshua 6:15-27, Acts 22:30-23:11, Mark 2:1-12
When people learned Jesus had returned home after several days away, a crowd gathered outside his home. It was so large that one man, whose friends had carried him there on a mat because he was paralyzed, couldn’t get near the door. Undeterred, they tore an opening in the roof and lowered him into the house. Jesus rewarded his faith first by forgiving his sins, then by healing his infirmity.
This healing was performed partly as a demonstration to those who questioned Jesus’s authority to forgive sins. The faith of the man helped Jesus further his ministry.
How hard would we work to get our friends to Jesus? Would we tear open a roof? Progressive Christians are generally uncomfortable with evangelizing; worrying about being “Bible-thumpers” creates a spirit of timidity until we are more likely to witness to a favorite new novel or sushi restaurant than push the Good Book and Bread of Life. There are other places to begin, though. Open a door to give them a place to stay. Open a window to freshen a sick room they can’t leave. And while doing so we can open our mouths to have a conversation about who inspires and strengthens us to live in grace.
Of course we shouldn’t try to force the unwilling to meet him. But we can lend a hand to lift up those who are paralyzed by fear, addiction, or guilt. When we suffer those same conditions ourselves, we may need to lean on the strength and faith of others to deliver us to Christ’s presence. Even when it seems impossible that we might reach him, there is a way to be found if we persevere.
When we break through whatever barriers are between us and Christ’s healing presence, we may be surprised to find what we really need is forgiveness — from God and from ourselves. Without a clean start, any other type of healing we experience will be incomplete. We are healed not just for our own sakes, but also to further Christ’s ongoing ministry by sharing our own witness of the good news.
Comfort: There are many ways to share the Gospel.
Challenge: Find one that is comfortable to you.
Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, help me find my voice so I may spread your Gospel. Amen.
Discussion: What is the most rewarding conversation you have had about faith?
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