Saturday, 2 September 2017

New learning from an unwanted event …

You can read in the September issue of our Parish Magazine about our last meeting of Messy Church, where we explored Jesus’ healing of the paralytic / lame man. It was dramatic. But how much do we really think it applies to us? “Get up and walk,” says Jesus. And so he does.

That’s something I suddenly discovered myself unable to do on the first weekend of my summer holiday. I was in London, crossing a road, when I realised the traffic was approaching more closely than I thought. So halfway across I put on a spurt of speed - at which point I felt a tearing sensation in my calf. I must have hopped the rest of the way, because at the other side I discovered I couldn’t put my foot down to walk.

Sent off from Accident & Emergency with a pair of crutches - that’s when I began to see just how many other people had crutches or some other disability with which they had to live. Not always a disability you might at first see. I took the bus from the hospital - and an Asian family motioned to me to get on ahead of them. It was on the bus that I realised their eight-year old son was severely autistic and every move they made had to be negotiated. But they’d let me on first - and when it was time to get off his young sister went to the driver to ask for extra time. On the next bus was a man who’d been refused an operation: he was British but had been living abroad and had broken his foot in India - now the bones wouldn’t knit. When was that? I asked. February, he’d said - and he was no better.

Mine was a chance accident - and hopefully I’ll heal with time. Others won’t. It’s not their fault - but sometimes we treat them as if it were.

Overwhelmingly I’ve had positive responses - people have offered their seat; lots have shared their own stories. Aided by family and friends I’ve been able to get on with life. And perhaps a slower pace for the remaining holiday was no bad thing.

Jesus gave physical healing to the man in the Messy Church story. But he had a deeper need too. “Your sins are forgiven,” Jesus tells him. And we all need to hear that.                                                                       

Martin Jackson

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