Thursday, May 22, 2014

A second question - about human will (4)

It’s about social healing too.
This ill man seems to give an oblique answer to Jesus' question: “Do you will to be well?” “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool…while I am trying to get in someone else goes down ahead of me.”  Does he seem to be saying, “Yes I do, but I don’t have anyone who cares enough for me to help me'.   Perhaps, his life has so closed in that he feels cut off from others who could make a difference.

Jesus' question challenges about wholeness in relationships. If he can get up and walk, the whole of his life will be changed. Instead of being passive, depending on a very few to take notice of him, he will be able to take the initiative with others. He can befriend and help others. 
Jesus' healing always has a social dimension.  And once you say “Yes” to him, you say “Yes” to his friends. You are never on your own again. Jesus invites him to join his Kingdom and you cannot be in his  Kingdom on your own. Are you willing for that?

Some people say no to Jesus because they prefer their own company. They just don’t want to be involved with other people closely.

I made an early mistake in my church in Cambridge. It was an beautiful older building with a timbered roof and three-sided gallery. It prided itself on its sophistication and university contacts even though it was small in number – around 80 people or so. And in morning worship (I had talked with leaders beforehand!) I asked all the regulars to stand up and then turn to greet those who were visiting the church, who would be obvious as they remained sitting down.  My, was there trouble on the first Sunday I tried it! I remember one lady telling me: 'I don’t come for that. I come for dignity, quiet and to be able to think. I don’t come to worship for forced relationships!'

On reflection I think probably some of our visitors found it too forced as well. It was sudden and in danger of being artificial.  But the truth is that worship is never just about me and my space and my preferences. Its language is “our” as well as “my.” Jesus has won for us brothers and sisters who we may not like, but he died for them and he joins us together with them. And they are part of belonging to him and being relationally whole.