Friday, June 12, 2015

Where to Look

Some might say the world in which Jesus walked was a simpler, less complex, slower world.  Perhaps, such thoughts give us a self-made license to focus on the external instead of the internal as we think about how we live.  Certainly, His world of the first century was different in many respects, but the very same issues which confront us in our day were present in His even though given life in different ways.  As I walk in corridors of great suffering, places where people are dealing with the issue of life and death, coping with a body ravaged by disease, and struggling with all manner of uncertainty, I find myself wondering what Jesus would do if He walked into such a place.  Would He walk from one to the other, or would He stop at the front door and cry out like He cried out at the tomb of Lazarus saying, "All of you, be healed and made whole!"

When I go to the gospels for some sense of knowing, I am made aware that His normal mode of care was one person at a time.  There are some instances of group healings taking place, but they are few.  Mark tells us early on about village people gathering after the Sabbath for Jesus to touch their sick.  Luke tells us about ten lepers who showed up before Jesus.  Indeed, at that moment Jesus stood in the midst of a suffering community.  But, the Word does not ever even hint that Jesus sought out leper communities, or community sickbeds, or funerals where some tragedy took away life far too early.  One at a time seems to be more the approach to human suffering which speaks of Him.

Maybe the question is not the real question.  As I walk in the corridors of great suffering, I have to believe He is actually present.  Otherwise, the gospel I embrace makes no sense.  Perhaps, the real question to be asked is the one which causes me to open my eyes to the way I see His heart being expressed as one sufferer cares for another. And, of course, the sufferers are not just the ones with bodies ravaged by illness, but all of us who live with our own scars and pain.  Even me. In my search for Jesus in a place where suffering seems to prevail, is it not true that I must look first in my own heart? While He is not limited by being us, being in us is surely one of the ways He has chosen to make Himself and His compassion present in those difficult places in our world and His. 

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