Strengthen the weary…


Mark 2:1 When (Jesus) returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. 3 Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” 12 And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” 

What I find fascinating about this story is the role of faith in the paralyzed man’s healing. But whose faith? Verse 5 mentions “their faith”, not “his faith”. In other words, the faith for healing is attributed to the group of people, not just the paralyzed man. And of course Jesus is simply verbalizing the obvious. The fact that four of them would dig through the roof in order to get access to Jesus tells us all we need to know. People with doubt in their minds wouldn’t have gone to all this trouble.

The idea that faith is a communal reality rather than an individual reality appeals to me right now. In the midst of this crisis I see people responding in various ways. Some people are confident we will make it through this, by the grace and mercy of God. Other people are not so sure. I have spoken with people in whom depression and anxiety are taking a toll.

As for me, I’m just tired. The last few weeks have been a blur, as is true for many of you as well. I hear of people saying how bored they are at home. Well, some of us are definitely not bored. To the contrary, there is no rest for the weary. And I’m not sure when this will end. I just know I can’t keep going like this. I’m sure many of you know what I mean.

Please do not hear this as complaint. With a record number of people finding themselves newly unemployed, having a job at all is a blessing. I’m not complaining, I’m just stating a reality. People are capable of functioning on overdrive for a time, but not indefinitely. And as a person over 50 years old now, I can feel that my body doesn’t endure as well as it used to.

So please pray for me and I’ll pray for you. Alone this crisis would grind us to dust, but together we can endure. We need each other. And we need the Lord. Heavenly Father strengthen us when we’re weary. Give us faith for one another. Carry us through this crisis in the palm of your hand. Amen.

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