Great Plains Daily Devotional for 10/28/2020

Today please be in prayer for

Ron Johnson
McCune UMC
West Mineral UMC
Parsons District
Bob Conway
Oswego: First UMC
Oswego: Mason Chapel UMC
Parsons District
Riley Cartwright
Parsons: Hamilton Chapel UMC
Parsons District
Timothy Bever
Parsons: Wesley UMC
Parsons District

Today's Lectionary Text

John 5:1-9


Soon another Feast came around and Jesus was back in Jerusalem. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people—blind, crippled, paralyzed—were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?”

The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.”

Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off.

That day happened to be the Sabbath. The Jews stopped the healed man and said, “It’s the Sabbath. You can’t carry your bedroll around. It’s against the rules.”

               

Today's Devotional

This is a healing story that took place on the Sabbath, so the fact that it happened on the Sabbath often becomes the focus around this scripture. Lately I have been thinking about the question Jesus asks, “Do you want to get well?” For the most part I have seen this is true for individuals they do want to get well. I really wonder about what we collectively want for our congregations and our society. If Jesus were to ask us, “Do you want to get well? How would each of us respond individually or as communities?

Can we learn from the man’s response who had a 38-year routine of sitting and waiting by the pool give us any idea about our response? I imagine he was discouraged, depressed and hopeless, wondering if it was even possible for him to be healed. Many of our congregations need healing now more than ever because of the effects of the pandemic and by cultural polarization that pulls us apart and separates us from one another than being compassionate with one another and seeking unity. Many folks have become discouraged and have begun to lose hope in the church.
Are we like the man by the pool who has been waiting for someone else to take action to get him into the pool after the Spirit has churned the waters? He knows he needs help to heal but when Jesus asks him, “Do you want to get well?” Not, “do you need help?” He doesn’t even answer; instead he complains that nobody has helped him, so he is always too late. Maybe the church and our society are asking the wrong question. Instead of offering help people may not want because we know we all want to be self-sufficient, we need to ask the bigger question, “do you want to get well?”

When our goal is to be part of the healing process, we choose to work together for unity of body of disciples we call church. Jesus tells the man, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” Healing comes when we are each willing to do our part. Rather than waiting for someone else to come along, we get up (get ready to serve), take our bedroll (only what is essential for our future), and start walking (following in Jesus’ footsteps). For when we do this, we are healed on the spot and ready to share our healing and transformation with the world.
-Pastor Libby Oberdorf
Osage City First/Reading UMC

loberdorf@greatplainsumc.org

Prayer for Reflection

Holy, Tender Healer, help us to recognize our need for healing, especially when depression, discouragement, and hopelessness stop us in our tracks. Help us to be open to your offer of healing and send your spirit to heal us and move us knowing our healing depends on a united response. Through your healing restore us to the fullness of life and prepare us to build a future upon our common bond as your disciples who form one body, the Body of Christ. Amen.

 

 

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