Support the Café

Search our Site

Speaking to the Soul: Heal Thyself

Speaking to the Soul: Heal Thyself

Week of Christmas 2, Year One

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 121, 122, 123 (morning) // 131, 132 (evening)

Isaiah 63:1-5

Revelation 2:18-29

John 5:1-15

Jesus has an incredible bedside manner with those in need of healing. He offers his power to the powerless, his compassion to the rejected, and, in today’s gospel, his words of challenge to the defeated. Jesus treats every case differently, knowing exactly what that person needs in order to experience the growth, freedom, and healing that God desires for them.

Today’s patient needs a dose of both compassion and firmness. For thirty-eight years, this man has been lying on his mat, waiting for his chance to get into a local pool with allegedly healing properties. Jesus approaches him as if to make a diagnosis, but his words are anything but routine.

The first question to the man is this: “Do you want to be made well?” Instead of answering the question, the sick man starts explaining why he isn’t well yet. For example, “I have no one to put me into the pool.” Also, “while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” In conjunction, these two excuses reveal a rather sad experience of other people. In this man’s life, people are both absent when he needs their help, and obstacles when he needs them out of the way.

For those who’ve been both abandoned and impeded by others, there’s only one solution. Jesus gives this man his prescription: “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” The man instantly picks up his mat and starts to walk.

The man in today’s gospel had lost his sense of desire to be well and his sense of power to stand on his own two feet, let alone walk. Many people have been failed or hindered by other people; the only way forward is to rediscover our own desire and power. That’s the healing presence of Jesus, working in a way particular to each of us, that we can seek and strive to offer today.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal.  She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps  program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


Image: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café