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Monday, September 12, 2011


Today I'm reading John 5:1-15.
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.
One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Bailey and I were walking through Oak Wood Park after hurricane Irene blew through. The trail we normally follow was washed away by flood waters, and numerous trees had fallen across the path. The familiar landscape was all changed and I felt a little disoriented as we climbed over tree trunks, ducked under fallen branches, and tried to navigate around flooded areas.

Follow the spiritual path of Christ isn't always an easy walk in the park. There are a lot of obstacles in our way. Honestly, though, the toughest obstacles come from within. It's not other people who get in our way. We distract ourselves. We trip ourselves up. We wander off the trail.

What I like about this story from John 5 is that even though the man at the pool makes a lot of excuses for the state his life is in, Jesus pushes past the man's self-inflicted obstacles and brings him healing. That encourages me when I think of the excuses I use to justify my own meandering. Do you want to get well? One of the greatest questions in the Bible.

Do you really want to grow in your faith?

Do you really want your life to be different?

Do you really want to...(you fill in the blank).

Then stop making excuses.


Today's prayer: Father, you are full of compassion.I commit and commend myself unto you, in whom I am, and live, and know. Be the Goal of my pilgrimage, and my Rest by the way. Let my soul take refuge from the crowding turmoil of worldly thoughts beneath the shadow of your wings, let my hear, the sea of restless waves, find peace in You, O God. Amen. (St. Augustine)

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