Today in Luke a blind beggar calls for Jesus, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” People order him to be quiet, but he shouts all the more. He gets Jesus’ attention and ultimately is healed.
This all occurs on the heels of the Rich Young Ruler, who could not enter into eternal life with his worldview of money. It also occurs on the heels of a lack of faith on the Pharisees part, or even the disciples.
Here is a blind beggar: by the crowd’s standards this guy is unclean by his condition, and doubly unclean because of his begging. Here, Jesus lifts him up as the example of faith. He knows that he only has to ask, because he knows who this is and the power he has.
We are in need of being healed of our affliction.
We are a people who have traded in the grace of God for a lie.
We believe that we are the dispensers of God’s grace, rather than recipients of it.
We believe that in our pursuit of money, if we are truly successful we can become immune to the need for God’s grace.
We are wrong on both accounts.
I love the irony that is found in the debate about immigrants and refugees. Ironic because most of us have the blood of immigrants running through our veins. Natives remind us that we belong to the land, not the other way around. And yet many of us feel privileged, immune, resistors of the reality that all comes from God and our dependence has always been on the Other.
We have always fallen into sin, especially those of us who come with this warped European work ethic driving us, thinking somehow that “those without” simply haven’t worked hard enough, when the reality is that generations ago when our forefathers came with nothing in their pockets, the reality is that they were also recipients of a lot of grace, opportunity, and second chances – mainly through the laws protections or the lack of laws about immigration. Yes many experienced discrimination, but they were also afforded amazing opportunity to establish themselves. And now somehow we have forgotten that our history is one that includes the Statue of Liberty and all that goes with her.
I pray that we can come to terms with the reality that we are not dispensers of grace, but recipients of it, and therefor have become instruments of God called to dispense more of God’s grace. I pray that grace once again becomes the order of the day.
Are you familiar with Kelly Latimore? Kelly Latimore Icons. His work has gone viral on Facebook a lot lately. He very powerfully in images has portrayed the refugee, particularly his images of the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt. Check them out: kellylatimoreicons.com They are powerful reminders that we have hitched our wagon to a Savior who himself was “without” and needed the community of grace and protection.
We hitch our wagon to a refugee who reminded us we too are refugees.
We are a prideful people, we Americans. We are industrious and independent. “Help? No thanks, I can do it myself.”
May we have the courage and faith to look past that to the reality that we are utterly dependent on God and one another.