FOR SATURDAY, ADVENT III
"What is it like to be made well?" by the Rev. David Chatel, St. Stephen's, Brewton
Being made well is not the same as being healed. It’s easy to confuse the two. Being healed often deals with fixing an acute physical or psychological problem. Cuts heal. Bones heal. Over time, heartache can heal. While healing is sometimes involved in being made well, wellness has more to do with the holistic realignment of our beings. Wellness is an overarching condition that is not necessarily dependent on instances of healing. I’ve known people who were dealing with terminal problems in their physical bodies while experiencing the mystery of having been made whole in their beings.
Being well is like gardening. You till the soil and prepare the environment. You spend time planting the seeds, watering and fertilizing the garden, and protecting the plants from pests and disease. You give your best effort and do all you can to ensure a good harvest, knowing all the while it’s all dependent on a natural system you have no control over. Because of the sun, the rain, the soil and the atmosphere, the garden grows, the food is harvested, the meal is prepared, and the body is nourished. Being made well is realizing that the entire process, from concept to realization, exists as a result of divine providence working in and through us. The desire and effort are from God. The understanding of what work is necessary is from God. The yield is from God, as is the ability to enjoy it and receive its nourishment.
In my experience, being made well is something we come to realize rather than something we achieve. We cooperate in the process, but our cooperation is more like a fish swimming in the water or a bird flying through the air. We work hard to accomplish it, but in reality, we were created to exist in it. It surrounds us and fills us. Being made well is waking up to who we truly are: co-heirs with Jesus, filled with the essence of God, called to love as a way of life, called to a life that never ends.
Reading for this week: John 5: 1-15
After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew[a] Beth-zatha,[b] which has five porticoes. 3 In these lay many ill, blind, lame, and paralyzed people.[c] 5 One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7 The ill man answered him, “Sir,[d] I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am making my way someone else steps down ahead of me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.
Now that day was a Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’ ” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in[e] the crowd that was there. 14 Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
Collect for this week:
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Join us this Advent as we explore what it’s like to wait! We are offering a collection of daily questions and reflections inviting us to consider what we experience and learn in our waiting, and how we find God - and God finds us - in our waiting.
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