“So You Will Know” Let’s pray… Rev. Stuart C. Buisch Mark 2: 1-12

The superstar is here. Come one, come all see the greatest show on earth! Gather round I am going to do some good. IS that what we believe about Jesus? He came to heal many and nothing more? The Anointed One can cast out demons, make the lame walk, blind see, dumb speak. Isn’t that great? But He can also forgive sins. What?

Only the One God can forgive sins. I continue to be stuck on that phrase. If that is true, what am I praying in the Lord’s prayer? If only God can forgive sins, am I just allowing God to forgive through me when I forgive others? If the pharisees are right about who can forgive sins then I really do need to have God within me, I do need to be changed by God so that others can be forgiven through God’s work in me when I am wronged.

But if it is only God who can forgive sins could it be that the most devout would be so unaware of God in their midst? It seems they knew loads of things about God but had very little personal knowledge of God. That if God moved in their souls, they might not recognize it. Could I grow in my faith and miss God in my midst? Could I ignore the kingdom of God within me? Why did they not even consider that the One they looked for, the Messiah, indeed longed for, could be in their midst, right in front of them? Today Matthew reminds us chapter 25 that whenever we don’t help the least of these around us, we are missing out on Christ. Apparently, it is really easy to miss when God is around us.

A trickier line of thought is this one, ‘which is easier to say your sins are forgiven or pick up your bed and walk, but so that you will know that the Human One, the Son of man has authority to forgive sins, Get up, take your mat and go home.’ Are sin and wellness connected? Does that mean that all who are well are sinless and those who are ill are sinful? NO.

First all of us are sinful, Christian or not, we still sin. Some folks are most skillful with covering their sin, managing it – or so they think, accommodating their sin. My older sister went to the neurologist and found out that there is a significant black square in her brain where it was damaged by a stroke that she had no experience of. The part of the brain damaged showed no damage to the part of her body that usually is affected by that portion of the brain. The doctor commended her for such great accommodation. That makes three of the six of us kids who have a history of stroke. Accommodation from a stroke is good. But when we work around unhealthy ways of being and living, ways that destroy our souls that accommodation is destructive.

God is in the business of forgiving sin. Sin does destroy our well-being and work destruction in our souls. The important part of this is, can I recognize sin in myself? Will I believe the conviction of the Holy Spirit telling me when something is wrong or right? Will I stop focusing on those around me, to condemn them or help them, and work for well-being in myself first and then help others get to Jesus like the friends of the man on the pallet?

God is also in the business of life. Life in all its fullness. Eternal life would surely be bad if it was a non-stop continuation of drudgery. Maybe that’s the reason Jesus says there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, hell is where everything one experiences is worth complaining about. Life
is about being able to praise like the crowd who saw the man on the pallet pick it up and walk off with it.

Who is the crowd watching this lame man being healed? We know there were religious leaders – pharisees. These knew what was right and wrong. They knew everything they thought there was to know who God was and how God worked. But only within their thinking. They were also the self-appointed judges of truth and falsehood. Jesus proved his falseness when he told his truth that there is no difference between, your sins are forgiven and get up take you mat and go home. This phrase didn’t fit with the pharisaic truth so Jesus was wrong.

How do we know what is right and wrong? When we began to parent we discovered that there were books on parenting that contradicted each other. One could buy a book to support any position on parenting that one would want. That flexibility has arrived at the church. If I hear something that I don’t agree with it must be wrong. All too often it couldn’t be because believing something is too hard or reading for myself and making up my own mind in the context of prayer and conversation with other Christians takes too much time. Ezekiel, like many of the Old Testament prophets, spoke up in order for the people listening to decide what God’s truth was. Often those words would be considered suspect today: Isaiah told to be naked – as Israel would be going into exile, Hosea told to marry a prostitute – because Israel was unfaithful to God. There are times that we need to listen to unpopular things and sort out what God is saying to us so that we will come to a deeper knowledge and experience of God. In the name of the Almighty God of the Universe, Christ who bore our sins and the Spirit who convinces us today of truth, amen.

Most Holy One, draw us into your embrace of life…

Christ in our midst, let us experience your solidarity with our everyday…

Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on each of us…