Wednesday, September 2, 2015

when life makes you sick

Gospel Reflection Luke 4:38-44
I woke up one morning completely unable to move. A severe pain in my neck and shoulders that ran down the right side of my body had me crying out in pain. I spent ten full days in a neck brace, completely still in my bed, not knowing what was wrong with me, while I silently prayed. And while I prayed upstairs in my bedroom, I listened to the sounds of my home; the children’s after-school chatter, dishes being piled high into the sink, the TV loud, the familiar sound of the garage door opening and dog barking, all alerting us that daddy was home. For ten days I did this. I was still. I could not participate in the life that seemed to be carrying on a floor below without me. And that was a big moment for me. It was big because up until I woke that morning unable to move, I was sick of my life. I was sick of always moving. I was unhappy, I was unsure of who I was, and I was tired of the after-school chatter, the plates piled in the sink, the way that the dog barked when my husband came home. It all felt so meaningless; my life felt it had no purpose. And now that I could not be a part of it? I wanted it back. I missed it. And I prayed hard for it.
I do not share this thought with many, but there is a part of me that believes my illness was more spiritual than physical; that what I was afflicted with was a severe fever of my soul. Because it was too painful to get up and go about my life (a life that was quickly slipping into a miserable string of ungratefulness and total lack of God), I had nothing left to do other than to pray. And so it was there, still and alone, with nowhere to go, that I found myself face to face with my healer. And he stood over me. And as soon as I was able to get up out of my bed, all I could do, and all I ever continue to want to do, is to go out and share this good news with the entire world. How clear it all became; my purpose was not something to be found within myself, but to be found in Jesus.  And from the moment I could stand again on my own, the need for everyone to know this truth was immediate.
You see, when the fever was rebuked, Simon’s mother-in-law did not get up and wait on Jesus and Simon because she was a woman, and that was her role. She got up and immediately served them because that is what the healing power of Christ does in you. It cures you of the very thing that has you struck down, unable to move. Physical, spiritual, emotional affliction; these come upon all of us. And so when we are graced with the healing touch of Jesus Christ, is it not our right and our duty to get up, run to the other towns, and proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God? I say that it is. I say that we should. And I say that we do it immediately.
Jesus tells the crowd, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” Who is my crowd, what is my purpose, and am I fulfilling what God has sent me to do?
Jesus, my healer, I have felt the power of your hands upon me, and I am so grateful. Please, send me out into the world to proclaim your good news. I pray I do not hesitate, but rather, that I immediately get up each day and make this my sole purpose: that through the way I live my life, through what I say and write, what I do and how I choose to behave, that every action and word shouts out into the town that “You are the Son of God!” Heal me of all my afflictions and rebuke every illness of my heart that keeps me from constantly running towards you. Amen.