This is a repost from my former blog (no longer available…thanks to apple’s “re-do” and nixing their blog template…whatever. It is from 2 years ago and this gospel is truly one of my favorites. I’ve been blessed with tremendous friends (and family) and though distance separates me from my besties, I am fortunate to have a few where I am now. However, the friends you raise your babies with, the friends who hold your hand and let you soak their shoulders with your tears during your darkest days, the friends who speak the truth when it’s the last thing you want to hear, the friends who watch your children, feed you, clean your house and drive with you through a most difficult season in your life……those friends have a forever place in your heart. Today’s gospel reading makes me think that the paralytic’s friends hold a forever place in his heart.
This morning’s Gospel Reading is from the book of Mark, Chapter 2. The story of the paralytic who is lowered through the roof by his friends in order that he could be healed by Jesus. I’ve heard the story many times and today I am struck by so many details.
The crowd was so big the friends could not get close to Jesus. So, I wonder, “How did they get on the roof?” If the crowd was so large, did they go to a nearby house and “roof hop” until they were on the right one? Many of the houses of that time would have been close together. Was it right next door or 4 houses down?
And their friend, who was paralyzed. They bring him along the entire way, on a mat. What is that mat like? An oversize sling? A makeshift stretcher with poles to help carry? Is he holding on for dear life or resting in the anticipation that he just KNOWS these friends are doing him the favor of a lifetime? Because if he eventually comes DOWN through a roof, he clearly has gone UP on a ladder or stairset and that can’t be easy on anyone, much less a paralytic on a mat.
And the hole itself. The above image is how I imagine the roof to be. Now is that roof really strong enough for FOUR men AND their paralyzed friend to stand on while they MAKE A HOLE THROUGH IT?!?!?!? I mean it is basically sticks thatched together for crying out loud! And then……..the lowering of the friend! OH MY!!! The mess that clearly made. Was Jesus right under it while straw and roof bits were sprinkling down on him, in his hair or eyes? Did He calmly continue along with his healing and then just greet the paralyzed man or did He stop and watch the situation play out silently cheering them on in their plan?
How about the people around Jesus waiting for healing of their own? Clearly there were many, because the men could not get through. Were they put out? Thinking, “Hey! We were here first!” Grumbling amongst themselves? Or were they in awe of such a crazy plan and kicking themselves that they had not come up with it themselves?
It’s just an amazing story. And I think of all my friends who have led me through impossible situations, making a hole where there seemed to be no way in and showing me Jesus. So patiently waiting. So ready to heal. And I am overwhelmed with gratitude and tears at the lengths they have gone through to get me here. And I am up from my own mat, in sight of all the people and we can all praise God, “We have never seen anything like this.” Mark 2:12b
Because sometimes we have to make the extraordinary effort to reach Him. The One who heals. The One who patiently waits. The One who applauds the hole in the roof, mess and all. And sometimes we get there with the extraordinary measures of those special friends He brings into our lives. The ones who have carried you through the crowds. Up the ladder. Cleared a path, and lowered you through the roof, right to the feet of Jesus. WOW.
What a way to start the day. Praise God for His patience. Praise God for His Love! Praise God for the friends He brings to our lives. Praise God for every day we have the opportunity to live out our lives glorifying Him.