If confession is good for the soul, here comes another chance for you to learn about one of my weak spots. I do not like crowds. I know some people have a deep anxiety when they are in a crowd of people. Fortunately, I don’t experience that. In fact, I kind of enjoy being in Manhattan or a busy airport and watching all the people go by. I like to study faces and think about how different people might be feeling and what their lives might be like. My problem is more on the level of a pet peeve or an impatience. Perhaps my more specific complaint is that I do not like waiting in lines. I am probably not the guy you want to invite to the amusement park, for several reasons.
I can imagine the scene reflected in Luke’s story about the paralyzed man (Luke 5:17-28). Jesus was in a house and people came from villages all around the region to see him, to hear him and to receive the healing that he could offer. A paralyzed man was brought by his friends to Jesus. The problem was that the crowd packed all around Jesus was so large that there was no way to get their friend to him. I can picture the people crowding in, pushing just a little trying to get closer to Jesus. There was no way for the friends to get to the front of that huge crowd. They could have given up. Instead they took a bold action. They climbed to the roof with their paralyzed friend, tore a hole in the roof and then lowered their friend down right to Jesus. Jesus even says that it is the faith of these friends that has led to the healing of this paralyzed man.
It is easy to get paralyzed today. Even if we can move physically, our spirits can become paralyzed. We read about another mass shooting. We experience the divisiveness of our culture and wonder where it is all heading. We are overwhelmed with tragedies and natural disasters. Jobs we once thought were secure seem to not be so secure. Many of us are so busy rushing from one thing to the next that it is about all we can do to just meet the tasks of the day before we fall into bed exhausted. Do we have time or energy to cope with the deeper problems of our communities? What are we supposed to do about racism or war with North Korea or immigration or human trafficking or child neglect or global climate change?
Many of us find that the problems are so big and we can only do so much. Alone. The faith story from Luke reminds us that we are not supposed to solve these complicated problems alone.
This week we will start a 3 week stewardship emphasis. Our theme is: “Together We Can..” It is meant to be open ended. What do you think we can accomplish together as a church? What dreams do you have of what God is calling us to do and be – together?
I hope you can be here for worship this weekend.
There will be several highlights. For example, Jackson Uphold (8 years old) will be on the big screen as he shares his ideas of what he thinks the church is all about. Chuck McGuire will be up there, too.
I look forward to worshipping with you.