One of my favorite Bible stories is Jesus healing the paralytic (Mark 2: 1-12). Word had spread around Galilee that Jesus could heal the sick and cast out demons. So, people started flocking to his side seeking help for themselves and their ailing loved ones. There was such a large crowd in and surrounding his house in Capernaum that no one else could get near him. Some people came carrying a paralytic, but they couldn’t get close to Jesus. Undaunted, they climbed up onto the roof and literally removed it piece by piece so they could lower the paralytic on a mat to Jesus. “When Jesus saw their faith” he forgave the sins of the paralytic. The scribes in the room were aghast thinking to themselves that this was blasphemy. Only God could forgive sins! Jesus, knowing these murmurings, showed them his authority to forgive and heal as only one from God can do. He commanded the paralytic to stand up, take up his mat and walk home -- which is what he immediately did to everyone’s amazement!
What I love about this story is the persistence of the people who brought the paralytic to Jesus. We don’t know if they were family or friends. We don’t know if they came at the insistence of the paralytic or if they had heard about Jesus and convinced the paralytic to see him. Nonetheless, they came. Imagine their disappointment arriving at the house and discovering there was no way to get the man through the crowd to Jesus! Yet they figured out a way -- by getting up on the roof and literally pulling it apart! They were unwilling to let barriers keep them from Jesus. They persisted in their faith and actions. As followers of Christ, I believe this is what we are called to do – to persist in our faith and actions. We are called to be “barrier busters” for those who need Jesus and are seeking the love, hope and healing that faith in God brings.
An example of this call became abundantly clear to me this past Wednesday evening at Holy Comforter’s Community Summit on Domestic Violence. Our speakers from Arising Hope, Safehouse Progressive Alliance on Nonviolence (SPAN), and the Broomfield Police Department described situations of domestic violence in our families, neighborhoods, and community. Victims often feel shame and are reluctant to speak of it to other family members or co-workers. Faith communities have an important role in helping victims of domestic violence by: becoming their friends, confidants, and advocates; learning about and promoting the community resources that are available to victims; and becoming volunteers and supporters to local shelters. Domestic violence is learned behavior. It can be unlearned, but victims need help. If you are interested finding out how you be a barrier buster, please contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deacon Linda Brown