Pick up your mat and walk!
John 5: 1-9 (NRSVA)
1 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 Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. 3 In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralysed. 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 sick man answered him, ‘Sir, 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.
A scene of suffering, shame and paralysis is — after an encounter with heaven — transformed into a scene of liberation, dignity and agency.
Jesus is both an architect of and an ambassador for the Kingdom: God’s new reality.
As we come to the end of our theme ‘Follow me!’ how can we follow his example and bring a divine aesthetic to our world so often full of violence and mistrust?
Where are the mats that need to be picked up and walked?
Where are the stuck, abandoned and lonely?
Where are the pools lying stagnant?
Where is there suffering where there needn’t be?
Architect and ambassador of all beauty,
Deliver us from embarrassment
and lead us into action.
Let’s be big enough to make small talk
if that’s what it takes to make a big difference.
Let’s open the conversation
with you at our side
as we redesign the scene
following your heavenly grace.