Sorry for missing Wednesdays blog, both are below to catch up!
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute.
Today’s verse is a clear as it can be. We are to speak out for – advocate for, defend, stand up for – those who cannot speak for themselves: the powerless, the disenfranchised, the persecuted. We know who they are, and we often ignore them. After all, we’re busy with our lives. ‘It’s none of my business anyway’. Oh, but it is. It is, because God made it so. And if we try to determine who is or is not worthy of our help, it won’t work. We can never know the full story behind someone else’s miseries or downfall.
We should also remember the words of German Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemoller, condemning the cowardice of those in Nazi Germany who did not stand up for the Jews: “When they came for the Communists, I didn’t stand up because I was not a Communist. When they came for the Socialists, I did not stand up because I was not a Socialist … when they came for the Jews, I did not stand up because I was not a Jew. And when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up.” Most of us are one mental breakdown, one catastrophic illness, one economic collapse, or one persecution away from being ‘one of them.’ When we stand up for others, we stand for us all. And for God.
©Carol Dean Henn
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Jesus said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Today’s verse seems to suggest that the young man’s paralysis was his fault; the result of some sin or wrong-doing by him or his parents; a punishment. That idea fit in with pagan superstitions, and with the guilt and self-blame promoted by religious authorities. But we know that even innocent children … even the best and most blessed of people … can be born with or develop illnesses or disabilities. Jesus certainly never pointed a finger at an afflicted person and said, “That’s your fault, you know!’ So, when he really meant “Stand up, be well, you are healed!” why did Jesus say, “Your sins are forgiven”?
Perhaps two things are at work here. Jesus could have been telling the young man to let go of any barriers he had to receiving healing, and –most certainly – he was defying religious authorities who believed that only God could forgive sins. Those scribes and authorities immediately accused Jesus of blasphemy, but he calmly turned from them. He had asserted his authority, his divine authority. He not only healed a man in need, he had put the scribes on notice. He was God’s own son.
©Carol Dean Henn
Carol Dean Henn of St. John’s Windish Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, PA