Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.
Is Jesus providing words of comfort to this lame man? Healing, yes. Comfort, not so much. He seems to be in the mode of shaking up the establishment today. You see, this day of healing at the pool of Bethzatha was the Sabbath. Not only did Jesus break the law by healing on the Sabbath, he encouraged this man to take up his mat and walk. The Jews said to the man, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.”
Jesus invites us to break some rules today, if they violate the heart of God’s law. He also demands that we get to the business of healing that which is broken in our midst. He is also saying: Move on! The time is now for ACTION!
Today as the government shutdown drags on, the political games ramp up, and TSA and Coast Guard members continue to work tirelessly, probably without pay, as morale of the troops deteriorates and more of our national security is put at risk, I say THE TIME FOR ACTION IS NOW.
It is time for us in this country to come to terms with the reality that government is GOOD. It is not the enemy as is so often portrayed. Our government is one of the ways we have instituted some of Jesus’ words in this country, providing safety nets of healing for those at the margins. There are multiple government agencies which do the work of healing, which say to people “Take up your mat and walk” that frankly could probably be done by the Church if we did not live in a representative democracy. Providing “take up your mat and walk” to all allows for the grace of God to extend far beyond the walls of individual denominations.
So to all the political shenanigans I say: This is not about you. It is about the safety, security, and greatness of each American. So open the government, stop holding 328,000,000 hostage because you are not getting what you want, and then we can talk about what God wants next for us.
The government was put in place by the will of the people. If you want to change it, fine. Put it to a vote and change it. But you do not have the right to close down that which we decided was important for our well-being.
Make America Safe Again – make it a place where it is safe for God’s grace to flow. Make it a place where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is allowed to function at full capacity. I would think that includes having safe skies for TSA and all the other agencies running fully.
Jesus paid the price for his ideology. There were many who were not OK with the action that he provided. He went all the way to the cross for his stance. He died because some did not want to open the doors of grace and share God with others.
Jesus demands we move past our fears about what others may think – to work for mercy, justice, and peace, even in the face of torment. We must be compassionate, but not stop at the compassion. It includes a new way of thinking – of being – that may have new rules and upset the establishment.
This is a challenge that leads many to give up. All around me I have friends that have thrown in the towel on Christianity. “Life is easier without that challenge,” they might be thinking.
To that Jesus says hogwash. Take up your cross and follow me.
Christianity is not meant to be easy. It is meant to change the world.