Today is the Healing of the Paralytic in Mark. I share the story of the time a preschooler changed the way I thought about this passage:
It was Preschool Chapel. I decided to tell the story of the Healing of the Paralytic, and let some of them help me reenact it.
I read from our Bible Story Book, showing pictures of how Jesus was crammed into this house, and the friends of the paralytic could not get close so they cut a hole in the roof and lowered him down. Jesus gets questioned. In frustration, he says, “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’?”
Then we needed to get involved. I choose two preschoolers to help me. With reluctance our “Jesus” came forward. The little boy seemed a little more intrigued, playing the part of the paralyzed man.
I had a rolled up mat as a prop. Having heard the story once, I knew they would need little coaching. I was right. The little boy who was sick immediately grabbed his mat, spread it on the ground, and suddenly fell down and went rigid.
“Jesus” came over, and I whispered her the line. As she knelt down and proclaimed him healed, the little boy sprang up, jerkingly looked around, and very quickly, with shock and amazement, grabbed his mat and took off for the narthex door as fast as he could!
A teacher bounded in quick pursuit. “Wait!!!” she yelped. He was off! The teacher didn’t catch him until he was clear out of the chapel all together.
It was great! It really couldn’t have been any better. The exuberance. The chaos. The impulse. This may have been how it actually went back then! The “healed one” sparked the crowd, stunning and amazing us. His excitement over being “healed” had just filled the whole room.
When we had finally corralled him, I asked for two new volunteers: a sick person and a Jesus. Hands shot up everywhere! Of course they did! This was an exciting story now. These kids understood the power and excitement of the crowd. They were looking to be healed next.
And that is what we are looking for in the church, isn’t it? We are looking for souls that are ready and waiting to be surprised by the risen Lord. We are looking for those who are open and ready for that healing touch. We are looking for “Jesus’s” too. Are you ready to come forward and pronounce words of power or forgiveness? Or are you looking to be healed, to put your past behind you, and with excitement take your mat and follow Jesus?