How do you respond to the healing presence of God and the dawning kingdom? Jesus has spent time moving through the countryside preaching, teaching, and healing. His fame has spread. A leper (a person who has been banned and excluded from the community so his disease would not spread) approaches Jesus. He pleads, he begs, he falls to his knees, "If you choose, you can make me well." Jesus looks on this leper with compassion and touches him. He risks becoming a leper, an outcast to heal him. After the healing, he tells the man to go to the priest and perform the proper offering to be made part of the community. Jesus tells him to say nothing. But he is made well. He can't help but share the news. He tells everyone he encounters about Jesus and how he touched him and healed him. This man spreads the Good News, he shares freely with everyone.
The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 1040 A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, ‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’ 41Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’42Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, 44saying to him, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’ 45But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter. Mark 1: 40-45
What prevents us from sharing the Good News freely to everyone we meet? I can understand the fear or desire not to make people uncomfortable. For when we speak of our faith people don't always react well. I will say I dread the moment people ask me what do you do? For when I say I am a pastor, I have awkward conversations. For in our first conversations people explain they don't go to church but they have been to their Grandmother's church or they went when they were little, their neighbor goes to... But something changes after the first encounter, people come back with their questions, with interest to know what you think. Can you believe in God and not go to church? Why does the church hate homosexuality? I hate that passing of the peace why do they do it? I will admit there are times I am tempted to say I do something else or maneuver out of the conversation, but we who have accepted the call, need to share the Good News freely, openly, passionately, without judgement.
Read through the passage slowly and place yourself in the story. Picture yourself seeing Jesus and you call to him. There is something that has been holding you back, making you doubt yourself, or there is illness in your life. As Jesus sees you and starts toward you, you fall to your knees and cry out, "If you choose, you can make me well." Jesus is full of compassion, he stretches out his hand and touches you, saying, "I do choose, be well." I do choose, be well. Let those words of compassion work on you. Feel the words moving through you. On your in breath hear, I do choose. On your out breath hear, be well. Breath in and out. Jesus sees your pain, your struggle, and chooses to be there with you and says, be well. Be Well. Amen.
Come Healing by Leonard Cohen