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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

08142016 12th Sunday After Trinity - Jesus has pity on even the least of these, including us!

August 14, 2016
Mark 7:31-37 – Healing of Mute Man
Jesus has pity on even the least of these, including us!
If you have ever had a child who was sick, a parent who was ailing, a friend who was dealing with sickness, whether cancer, long term sickness or even the frailty of their body, have you ever prayed for them or someone you know to be healed?  I’m not just talking feeling better, but their complete healing? 
This morning we have heard from our Gospel the story of Jesus healing the deaf man who also had difficulty speaking.  All of us have encountered individuals with similar challenges.  Jesus clearly not only had the power, but also the authority to heal this man of his malady, both of hearing and speaking.
Could you imagine this man being led to Jesus by his friends?  His family and friends had probably carried him when he was younger and taken him to many healers throughout the land and his lifetime.  For some today we would be willing to drive or fly across the country for a glimmer of hope.  Yet, for that young man, the healers and their practice upon this man was to no avail.  Every person they had brought him to did not change his condition.
Yet, as we have heard today, Jesus during His lifetime and ministry on earth simply had pity upon the least of these, especially this deaf and mute man.  It may not seem like much when we are healthy, but for a man, who had for his entire life, never heard the birds sing, been able to speak plainly and be understood or be welcomed because he was not ‘normal’, this change was radical.  Jesus gave this man his life back in a way that is utterly profound, but it wasn’t an herb he used, nor a new treatment that had gone through the trials that we are so used to hearing about today.  Jesus did something radically simple.
Simply, Jesus not only laid His hands upon this man, but took this poor man’s hands in His own and gave him the freedom he had never experienced.  This same offer of freedom Jesus offers to each of us today.  Unlike the man who was freed from the shackles and prison of the lack of speech and hearing, we who gather here today are offered a greater freedom from something far more sinister.  Today, we are offered freedom from the binding of sin in our world into the life giving world of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
During these uncertain times, whether from a world that is at war with ISIS, global climate change where the experts tell us the ocean is rising or so close to home of the uncertainty of the elections in the fall or the price of wheat and corn being at a low not seen in our collective lifetime, we who gather here today want, need and desire stability.  As Christians our uncertainty can find balance and freedom in only one source and one surety, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
When the deaf and mute man took the hand of Jesus Christ his reality radically changed.  It wasn’t like the hope we sometimes find sitting in a medical office or surgery waiting room when a surgeon comes out and says, “we got it all” like with cancer surgery or an emergency procedure that saves one’s loved one’s life.  The reality that changed for the deaf and mute man was of his taking Jesus Hand and a clear and profound healing that gave his life to him like he had never known.
This morning we are offered this same chance when we come and take Jesus Holy Hand offered for each and every one of us.  It isn’t about our being healed from sickness or disease, but Jesus wants to take our hand and release us into the world to tell others what a life of eternity looks like with Him.  Jesus wants to take our hand and help us enter into a new relationship with Him and it be a relationship, not of empty promises, but of fulfillment made in and for each and every one of us.  Jesus wants to take our hand and escort us into the reality found not on the streets of Goodland, but in our being welcomed into our heavenly home when we go to be with Him for eternity.
Jesus wants to help us like the deaf and mute mans friends and help us help others to take Jesus hand.  Hence why our sermon hymn this morning is “Precious Lord, Take my hand”.
All of us have probably heard and have sung this song numerous times.  But the story of this song has a deeper and more profound meaning.  Thomas Dorsey, penned these lyrics in 1932 after his wife Nettie died in childbirth and soon after Thomas lost the child they were bringing into this world.  Steeped in the loss of both the love of his life and the child they were planning on raising, Thomas, with these lyrics gives us the greatest gem in understanding what it means to take Jesus hand.
The simple prayer this hymn prays is a plea by a man who has lost everything, but clearly understands what is to be gained when Jesus takes our hand.  The question we need to ask and answer this morning, will we remain in our self-imposed prison, or will we be liberated like the deaf mute man and believe Jesus sure promise when we sing “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”?

It is my prayer that each of us take Jesus Hand and feel the freedom from that which binds us which is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For Jesus Christ has pity even on the least of these, including each and every one of us gathered here this morning.  So let’s firmly, faithfully and fully believe the words that we sing and respond with our simple plea “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”!  AMEN.

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