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Speaking to the Soul: The Vanishing Jesus

Speaking to the Soul: The Vanishing Jesus

Week of 2 Lent, 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 72 (morning) // 119:73-96 (evening)

Jeremiah 3:6-18

Romans 1:28-2:11

John 5:1-18

Today’s gospel reminds us how unobtrusively Jesus sometimes works in our lives. A sick man is healed after Jesus asks him to pick up his mat and walk, but the sick man is so busy being made well that he doesn’t catch Jesus’s name. When people ask the man who healed him, he doesn’t have an answer, because Jesus had vanished as soon as his work was done.

As the passage tells us, “the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there.” Later, Jesus catches up with this man, who in turn tells the religious leaders who healed him. They, for their part, “started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath.” No good deed goes unpunished, I suppose!

No wonder Jesus might prefer to stay in the background of our lives. He heals and encourages us without introducing himself. He melts into the crowds before we can trace his influence. His grace is at work without seeking credit or attracting critics. But as we come across or pass through crowds of people today, let’s ask to be mindful of Jesus in our midst.

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.

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