As part of the Call to Change initiative, the Jellicoe blog now includes a weekly post on the lectionary readings, and how they relate to the Gospel call to social transformation.
For Roman Catholic churches, and others following the Revised Common Lectionary, the Gospel for next Sunday (19th February) is Mark 1.2-12.
Seeing [the] faith [of his friends], Now some scribes were sitting there and they thought to themselves, “How can this man talk like that? He is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins but God?'”
Jesus…said to them, “Why do you have these thoughts in your heads? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your stretcher and walk?’
The crowds have heard of wonder-workers before, and they have listened to teachers – but never have they known anyone to declare the forgiveness of sins. That is in God’s power.
Jesus isn’t saying that physical illness is a sign that our relationship with God is wrong. He explicitly denies that in other healings. What he’s doing is moving from the physical issue this man faces to the spiritual issue we all face – the health of our relationship with God and neighbour. And because he is God, he has the power to heal that relationship too, if we are willing to open our lives to his grace.
“My god is that which rivets my attention, centres my activities, preoccupies my mind and motivates my action.” (Luke Johnson) Is it true in my life that “God is love” – or do I value things above people? Is my prayer life with God focused on getting things from God – or deepening our relationship? What ‘gods’ stand at the centre of our current economic system – and what would our economic and social order change if we placed relationships at their heart?