As we journey together through Lent, Christians throughout Columbia will be sharing their own beautifully written ‘letters from the heart.’ Each will be accompanied by a corresponding relevant scripture, and linked to sources for further study. If you would like to join us on Columbia’s Lenten journey, please send me your ‘letter from the heart’ by email. Especially meaningful submissions will be printed. Let us continue our Lenten journey, day by day, to its glorious culmination on Easter morning.
Today’s bible study is from the Gospel of Mark 2:1-12: And again he entered into Capernaum after [some] days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive [them], no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken [it] up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this [man] thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, [Thy] sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion. And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them.
The gospel of Mark is the oldest of the gospels. Following Jesus’ journey Galilee to Jerusalem the emphasis is on what Jesus did as opposed to what Jesus taught as He spread the good news that the Kingdom of God is at hand. In His travels Jesus heals and restores the sick and the lame, causes the blind too se and cures leprosy. Even nature responds to His command as Jesus walks upon the water as though it were dry land. This particular passage tells one of the first of His miracles when He cures a paralytic man before a crowd of observers.
The important lesion for all of us is that we are able to spread the word of God through our actions and deeds, not only through words. In our daily encounters in our work, our community involvement and our personal relationship, we have the opportunity to demonstrate, as Jesus did, that we all share in God’s love. To love God, you must love what God loves. It means paying attention to our relationship with God and how that relationship is manifested in the way we live our lives. One important practice is to be involved in the church community and allow yourself to be nurtured in your heart as well as your head. Being a part of the church also creates opportunities to exhibit compassion and justice. How often have you found yourself in a situation in which you provided strength and compassion by simply being present and listening?
If has been said that often our actions and words are actual conversations with God. We may not be performing miracles as described in the Gospel of Mark, but we can exhibit goodness and support in so many ways. As we anticipate the changes and celebrations in our parish family, we must remember that we are instruments of His love and hope. Marcus Borg, in his book, The Heart of Christianity, says, “At the heart of Christianity is participating in the passion of God.” The Lenten season gives us time to contemplate what we want for our future. We need to dream and to participate in the growth of our Christian community where we live and worship.
If you enjoyed this Lenten meditation, you can find more at Sharon's Columbia Biblical Studies Examiner homepage.