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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Today’s Reading | Mark 2:23–3:6

One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath.”

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. (NRSV)

In this story Jesus models several important elements that are often present when healing and transformation happen. There is brokenness that presents itself as a man with a withered arm. We all have withered and broken parts in need of healing; that’s part of being human. What is your brokenness?

The Pharisees are easy to despise in this story. However, who among us does not have a part of our nature that clings to the control and comfort of keeping things the same? This satisfies our craving for certainty and causes us to forgo the healing and transformation for ourselves and others that is possible by letting love abound.

Jesus is determined to heal and transform the man’s withered arm back to wholeness and full function, no matter what the cost or resistance. Do you show the same drive and determination towards yourself and others who are in need of love and healing? When Jesus’ intent to love boldly and heal brokenness is thwarted by the status quo, Jesus shows emotions of anger and grief toward this injustice. Anger represents the energy usually required to break through resistance and his grief represents compassion for the people and forces that resist change and stand in the way of healing and transformation. Will you do the same when you encounter injustice outside of you or when you resist transformation and healing in your own life? Jesus is a good companion to have at your side, as you become a loving agent of healing to yourself and others.

Dear Jesus, please help me follow your lead and be a determined and even insistent agent of healing for that which is broken in me, in others, and in this world. Help me work at the difficult challenge of showing compassion for others and the parts of me that can’t give up the comfort of the status quo. I surrender to the transforming power of your love to make things new again. Amen.

Written by Thomas Schemper, Director,
     Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being

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