Today's Lectionary Text
After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in HebrewBeth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 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?” 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.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.
Now that day was a sabbath.
As I was looking through the online signup, I came across John 5:1-9 and the subtitle in my John Wesley Study Bible is “Jesus Heals on the Sabbath.”
That subtitle brought back fond memories of my time at Saint Paul School of Theology.
Dr. Angela Sims, one of my most challenging professors, would always encourage the seminary students to make sure we took sabbath time for ourselves. While the sabbath focus is later in the chapter and does not center around verses 1-9 it reminded me of what ministry is truly about. Jesus was not worried about the traditional rules he wanted to care for the people. Here we have a man who had been hoping to be healed for 38 years. I am sure that this was very disheartening as he saw person after person make it to the pool before him. Each one hoping and praying to be healed of whatever ailment affected them. Then enter Jesus and in verse 8 he tells the man, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.”
This scripture reading closes out with verse 9 telling us, “At once the man was made well, and he took his mat and began to walk.” How often have we stepped out in faith? How often have we trusted that still small voice telling us to trust, to listen, to do? When we have faith, miracles happen. As I think about today it is my birthday, tomorrow is Memorial Day, and Annual Conference starts Wednesday night.
The highlight for me and 11 other colleagues we will hope to be ordained Friday night of conference. There are few technicalities to make it through before that can officially happen. I look back on the last 7 years of local church ministry and realize that while I was not looking for healing, I was listening to God guide me into ministry. I am grateful beyond words for all that have been part of this journey; mentors, interview teams (the good and bad), friends, family, and colleagues who have walked along this journey with my wife Beth and me. As we look ahead to the next chapter of ministry, we realize there are times where set sabbath days don’t happen.
Ministry is never an 8-to-5 calling we are called to live life with everyone whenever we are needed. Jesus too realized that, while he still knew there were times he needed to step away and rest the main focus was to care for the people. Clergy and Laity, we are all called to do the same. So, as we journey down the road called life may we all be in tune to the still small voice and show God’s love each and every day.
-Pastor Jeff Goetzinger
Little River and Mitchell Chapel UMC's
Prayer for Reflection
Dear God, we come to you now amid all that is happening in life and ask for you to fill us with the strength and energy to care for all people. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
This Week's Lectionary
This Week's Liturgical Color