Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Teacher, Friend, Believers

Prayers continue to be the same...I woke early overwhelmed and felt the urge to write. Good therapy for me...

Love and Peace

Tom

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There once existed a community of believers. This is their story.

At the same time we do not know much about them; we know them well. We have seen them throughout history; showing up at significant and insignificant times. Significance really being a matter of perspective - viewpoint - opinion. Most recently for me the community of believers has gathered in mass - grown strong - provided strength - in a most significant time. Their story is too big to fully tell but is worth catching a glimpse of. Their story goes something, sometimes like this...

There was a day - just any day - insignificant to some, life-changing to others. The Teacher was in a home doing what a teacher should do - teach. There where people gathered in this home. Some were those that followed his teaching - that he specifically chose to be in his inner circle. There were others that were following because they saw something in his teaching that radically changed their point of view on life - they longed to get more - could not get enough. Some there on this day listened with a different motive. Some wanted to find a flaw in his teaching, a way to catch him and discredit him. These saw his teaching as horribly wrong and dangerous and were concerned, angry, fearful. Then there were those that simply happened to be there - apathetic - curious - following the crowd.

There were so many at this home that they were hanging out the windows, cramming into every nook and cranny. Furniture was on the street outside so they could fit more people in the house. What turned into a simple gathering in a simple home, turned into a sell out event. In the midst of this thick crowd there existed this community of believers and they had a friend. Friend was destitute. He had nothing left to give to anyone. He could not work, could not contribute, could not walk. Really the only thing he could do was find someone to put him on a street corner so he could beg. He was stripped of everything: family, home, job. There were days he prayed in earnest for God to strike him dead - remove from history the day that he was born. Depression devoured him like quicksand pulling him down, down, down. Failure, worthless, hopeless.

Friend was, however, surrounded by a cloud - a great cloud of witnesses - this community of believers. And on this day they put their belief into action to get Friend to the feet of the Teacher. The Teacher had a reputation and following for not only words of wisdom but for the miraculous. He had healed blind, deaf, crippled. At the feet of the Teacher, there is healing, there is hope, there is clarity.

Finding a stretcher, four of them took a corner and went to the house. "Excuse me, pardon me, can we get through?" The crowd was so thick and perhaps so self-absorbed that they would not let Believers bring Friend in. So much could be said of the crowd but that is not really the focus of the story. Let's just say that there is a lesson in making sure we do not get so caught up in our story that we miss the story of those around us. Other's stories cross over and can greatly impact our lives.

For most people not being able to get into the house would be the end of the road. Maybe they could find the Teacher later tomorrow down by the lake when their is more room. The Believers though were determined and focused. Stepping back they analyzed, strategized, and changed their course of action. They knew the goal and were determined an "out-of-the-box" solution. Four of them went up on the roof and cutting a hole lowered him to the feet of the Teacher. Just imagine the crowd around him - who had maneuvered, dug their heals in, guarded their positions around the teacher. Just imagine the shock of the homeowner. Those who knew the heart of the teacher were smiling - giddy - excited. Others were angry, bothered, embittered.

As the Believers looked down, waiting in eager expectation, Jesus looked up and said to the them, "because of YOUR faith Friend's sins are forgiven." The crowd grumbled at this - the guy can't walk and the Teacher is forgiving sins? How dare he. He has no right. See he is a fraud."

The Teacher, Jesus, as the Son of God looked around the room looked up a that the believers and with a knowing nod healed the crippled legs of Friend. Jesus said "get up, take your mat and go home." He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"

Never underestimate the faith of a Community of Believers. Never underestimate the power of God to act and move not just on the faith of one but on the faith of those around. In the midst of our own toil, heartache, trial those who stand around us make up for our incomplete belief; they carry us when we cannot move - so weighed down and feeling insignificant.

Never underestimate the faith it takes to simply get up. Friend did not have to get up. He could of looked at Jesus and said no. All eyes were on him. What if he failed again - why stand now. "Guys come down and carry me out. I will try to stand later when no one is around. Thanks Jesus, see ya later." It takes great risk and faith to simply get up. Whether it be physical ailment, emotional shackles such as depression, chains of addiction, or spiritual conflict getting up takes courage to do what seems impossible.

See: Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:18-26; Matthew 9:1-8

There is a tremendous cloud of witnesses around us to carry this stretcher - rather these stretchers. A Community of Believers placing Friend at the feet of the Teacher. Amazed and praising God: "We have never seen anything like this."

2 comments:

Jacob's Journey said...

I have been trying to verbalize this and it always comes out awkwardly - that there is no such thing as a small issue, that sure our journey is hard for us but everyone has a journey to go through that is just as equally significant. Because it is about "us", not "me." Thank you for the beautiful story that clearly depicts this.

Cindy Todd said...

Tom,
Thank you so much for reminding me of the power of God and God's people! We continue to pray!
Love you guys, Cindy