Lent – 7th reading for discipleship reflections

James DouglasUncategorized

Back to skating on thin ice, after an attack of the distractables. (sorry this post is late, in other words)

Reading: Mark 2:1-22

In a fairly stark reminder of how different most of life was for the people who first heard Jesus preach, we hear the story of the paralysed man who is lowered through the roof by four friends who simply can’t get in the door for the crowd. It’s an engaging image, one that’s inspired a fair few illustrations, including the one below.

I like the illustration above, because of the way the paralysed man in his helpless state looks a bit like the crucified Jesus, and because Jesus is attending to him so tenderly, perhaps as Nicodemus did after Jesus was brought down from the cross (I wish I knew who the illustrator is). Mark tells this story to further illustrate Jesus’ authority (the authority to forgive sins) and his identity (who can forgive sins but God alone?). There are more examples to follow with the calling of Levi; and Jesus’ answering his critics with words that show up their hypocrisy and illustrate their lack of understanding. But there, in the crowded house, with the ceiling removed to let the light (and the paralysed man) in, Jesus stops his teaching to spend time with someone whose unexpected  and dramatic arrival completely interrupted him. I pray that in the season of Lent, and even beyond it, I can manage to receive interruptions with such grace, allowing care and compassion to flow and the Reign of God to be enacted.