Epiphany 7 – Year B
Mark 2:1-12 and Mark 9:2-10
We last left Jesus, having changed places with a leper, wilderness wandering. He has quietly returned to Capernaum. Eventually word leaked out that he was back and a crowd re-gathers to hear teaching, not receive healing. At this point, one of the folks who was either not present during Jesus' extended healing the last time he was in town or had contracted some paralytic condition between then and now was brought by faith-full, faith-active friends.
Emboldened by unnamed friends, Jesus asks us to hear beyond our words to the action of life. A better question than whether it is shorter or easier to say, "You're forgiven" or "Stand; walk" is whether you can hear and see and experience each in the other. This is astounding work.
You may be led to practice this new way of listening and speaking this week. It will be a translational challenge for you and those you interact with to speak divinely in regular life and to speak commonly in ritualistic situations. There will be those who will respond that you are taking a larger jump than they are able to do and, one way or another, label you a blasphemer or just crazy. You may get scared of the possibilities and back away. There will be those who will be thankfully amazed at being able to reframe their life. You may find a rebirth of action in your own faith.
Here are two additional thoughts:
For whom will you make a new backdoor to fuller life? For whom will you activate your intentions? Having identified someone or someones, what is your plan to participate in their healing and the blessing of those who are witnesses to it?
Contrast this scene with that of Job and his friends. On a scale of Job's Friends to the Paralytic's Friends, where do you fall?
= = = = = = =
At this point it dawned that we are not on the story of the Paralytic's Friends, but the Friends of Jesus (Moses and Elijah) who come to him to say the easy thing, "Stand up; Head to Jerusalem."
In the first story, the crowd is transfigured – amazed and glorifying G*D. In the second story, Jesus is glorified.
Now we have a three-way scale between Job's Friends, the Paralytic's Friends, and Jesus' Friends. Oh, it was so much easier when I was dealing with only one layer instead of trying this three-dimensional scale. Wouldn't it be easier to just have to deal with one pericope or the other and forget all this trying to hold them together in a both/and approach? I suppose, but not nearly as fun.