Today Jesus heals a paralytic. You know the story: Jesus goes home in Capernaum for a few days. Word gets out and many want to come see Jesus, some to get healed. Many gather around him, and there is no room. So some friends of the paralytic climb on the roof, dig through it, and lower him down in. (There’s nothing like a bunch of strangers digging their way through your roof!)
Jesus gets some flack from the scribes about his saying to the man, “Your sins are forgiven.” So he goes on, “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’?
Jesus heals him. He stands up, takes his mat, and goes out before all of them.
Today we cry out for Jesus to touch us, and heal us again. We are frozen in our response to violence in America. We are unresponsive – stiff as a board – unable to discern what to do and which way to go. We are a bloodthirsty people who love our guns, and so any mention of restriction is simply unfathomable.
Today power and authority collide in a cosmic struggle against evil. Demons lurk in the shadows. Sin lurks.
We need Jesus to take us by the hand and deal with these powers and principalities. I suspect that trusting in the Lord to deal with this is also going to require some action on our part. We will have to embrace the reality that the Prince of Peace would clearly understand that everyone’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness trumps anyone’s desire to have any kind of gun at any time.
Can we miraculously come to value life and move from our frozen positions once again? Can we too be touched by Jesus and healed? Can we overcome our addition to violence and the violent culture we love so much?
I find great comfort in knowing that God’s cosmic struggle in this story, the healing of the paralyic, led to an overwhelming setting free of the Spirit. Unleashing God’s power in the world is something that is long overdue.
So catch the Spirit with me. And let us be led by the one who healed the paralytic and later healed the Roman guard who had his ear cut off by a disciple’s violent act. Let us rise, and take our mat, and turn from our violent obsessions, and run to tell people how great it is to be alive anew, following the one who demanded peace and healing for all who were broken.