by Mary Lessmann
These are the words Jesus used to heal a man of his deafness and speech impediment in today’s Gospel passage.
How might we hear Jesus speaking ‘Be opened!’ in our lives? It is easy to become anesthetized by the repetitiveness of our daily routine. It is natural to block out dissonant messages that stoke our fears and call up our defenses. In the current moment, when many of us have marshaled all our personal resources to get through the disruptions in our lives due to Covid-19 – working from home amidst our families, shepherding our children through their online schooling, physically alienated from our friends and colleagues and the routines that brought us meaning, fearful for our health and the health of our loved ones – we are tired. So the inclination to shut down, to be less than our best selves, to see less and to hear less, is understandable.
Yet Jesus wants to speak healing in our lives. He wants to help us experience the world in a bigger, more textured, and, yes, messier way. So how might we be opened such that we become more the person God has created us to be; such that we might broaden our outlook to see the redemptive work that God is performing all around us…and join in?
‘Be opened!’ It’s interesting…Jesus doesn’t say, “Open your ears.” He doesn’t say, “Listen to me.” He looks to God and, joining us in our pain he groans aloud, and he proclaims God’s action – “Be opened!” The action is all God’s. Our ability to ‘be open’ to God, to our world, and to our need issues from God’s gracious activity within us. He desires to touch us. He desires to heal us. He desires to give us the life for which we have been created.
The Rev. Mary Lessmann is Associate for Spiritual Growth at Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, Texas. Mary is an Enneagram specialist, a workshop presenter, and a leader of pilgrimages. When not in Dallas, Mary and her husband, Russ, can be found exploring a new locale or hiking a mountain.