Disruption. Annoyance. Invasion.
Before Sunday night, I had never thought those words in regard to one of the stories of Jesus…and now I can’t stop thinking about it that way.
It’s my friend and pastor Elizabeth’s fault.
The story is in Mark chapter 2. Some people bring their friend to Jesus, a friend who is paralyzed. Jesus has been doing amazing things, and it seems they love their friend enough that they hope bringing him to Jesus can bring some healing. But when they arrive, it’s thick with people, people crowded in and around this house where Jesus is speaking.
There’s no way to get to Jesus.
So four of the friends carry their immobile friend up on the roof. They dig through the earthen roof. Just picture that disruption, as clay-like pieces fall on Jesus down below, while the friends do their work. They lower the man down through the hole they’ve made, forcing Jesus to have to make a decision about what he will do.
The knot Elizabeth tied in my brain was to draw my attention to words I have glossed over all my life: “…he was at home.”
It’s Jesus’ house!
These people crowded in and around his house. These friends destroyed Jesus’ property, invaded his space, and made a paralyzed man trespass into Jesus’ home, forcing Jesus to engage.
I’ve spent most of my life trying to live like Jesus, trying to be like Jesus. To take him as my model. But honestly, too often I think how I am to “be like Jesus” is something that I control and decide. I too often forget how often actually being like Jesus means deciding how I will respond to the interruptions, the intrusions, the annoyances, the people that cross my boundaries and plant themselves right in my living room and make me decide how I will respond.
Do I have it in me to extend forgiveness, as Jesus did?
Do I have it in me to invite God’s power to heal, to be a conduit of God’s healing, as Jesus did?
Even when people break my stuff and invade my space and camp out and demand a response, right when I’m just trying to be in my safe zone with my people, when I’m trying to get stuff done?
Honestly, I like the Paul method better. I’ll plan a trip, I’ll decide where I’m going to “minister” and to whom I’ll give my time, and then I’ll come home and be done.
Or I even prefer the Philip method. I’ll go somewhere, listen for Spirit to guide me, and eventually end up really helping someone. (Then I get to go home.)
But I guess, if Jesus is the model, I have to think about how I respond when I feel invaded, disrespected, forced to deal with people on their terms, and not mine.
Newsflash: I don’t have it in me to be like Jesus.
But I’d like to be a person who is a conduit for God’s forgiveness and healing, and to have there be no restrictions on that, no open/closed times, no “do they deserve it?” barriers.
Which means I need Jesus to do some healing, forming, shaping…in me. And I suppose I can trust that Jesus will give me the space and boundaries I need, since he definitely took time away from crowds and ministry to be alone, too.
I’m open. Ready. Asking.
Listening for him to say to me, “Get up, take your mat, and walk.”