Saturday, February 20, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Release from the Burden of Sin
St. Mark. 2:1-12
Rev Denny Philip

Carmel MTC, Boston, MA

5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Mark’s healing narratives go beyond mere description of the healing miracle. Through each narrative, he is gradually revealing the messianic aspect of Jesus. Today’s passage proclaims the truth that ‘the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins’. As we are meditating on this passage during the Lent, let us focus on two aspects of the transformation emphasized in this passage.
Transformation from Crowd to community: We notice two groups of people here. Those who are in the house with Jesus, hearing His words yet murmuring inside when they cannot comprehend His actions. This group, whom Mark calls 'crowd', prevents the paralytic from reaching Jesus. They have gathered in the house in such a way that there is no room for others. They are an audience who came to see Jesus performing miracles, enjoy His words and evaluate and judge Him. In contrast Mark presents the four, who sense the need of this helpless man and takes the initiative to help him. They take the effort to climb up the roof, open it and put him down through it. This is the community who rises beyond their immediate need to offer themselves to those less privileged and thus making them part of the worshiping community. Jesus acknowledges their faith. As a Church, are we crowding around Jesus blocking others or are we broad and open enough to help others experience Christ.
Transformation from the Burden of Sin: By presenting this paralytic man, Mark is bringing out a parallel between the experience of this man and a sinner. The illness cripples this person and makes him ineffective and helpless. It prevents him from relating to others or carrying out his own responsibilities.  He is then forced to restrict himself to his own world. This is actually what sin does to a person. Sin can precisely be understood as estranging us from a relationship with God and the community. The burden of sin cripples people and put them in an enormous self-torture. A person, tormented by sin, can never forgive him/her self and always look upon the self as worthless and waste, and gradually becomes alienated and ineffective. Here Jesus offers the possibility of forgiveness which helps the person to rise beyond the self-imposed bondage to a world of freedom where the relationships are restored and the person becomes effective and useful for God and the world.

PRAYER

Forgiving God, help us to experience the warmth of Your love and forgive us so that we may become effective and useful for Your world. Amen.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.” Martin Luther King, Jr.