How Will It Be?

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”
–he said to the paralytic,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
He rose, picked up his mat at once, 
and went away in the sight of everyone.

Mark 2:1-12
How will it be when healing comes,
O Christ who came to save?
What can you do with those who jump
alive into their graves?

What, will you lift us from the earth,
or give us strength to rise?
Or spit your grace into the dirt
and smear mud on our eyes?

You'll gently tug it from our grip
when we cling to your robe,
or turn and strike us on the hip
when we will not let go.

Just drag your shadow over us,
who lie here at your feet,
or write your mercy in the dust
'til our accusers flee.

You could just say our sins are gone,
but we would lie here still
who know too well what we have done,
the measure of our guilt.

And so you say, “Get up and walk,”
to show us you forgive.
The prison doors at last unlock,
and we can rise and live.
Jesus heals the paralytic at Capernaum (Galway City Museum, Ireland) By Sheila1988 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=88909829 WWL
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Not to Eden

See us crowding in the streets,
trying just to reach you,
or kneeling, crouching at your feet.
Begging, we beseech you:
Let your shadow fall on us;
that would be enough, Lord.
If just your cloak were touching us,
we could get up once more.

Son of David, Son of man,,
Lord, have mercy on us,
and let us be made whole again:
Lay your hands upon us.
Son of Mary, Son of God,
you have walked beside us.
Now meet us here upon the road.
Heal us, Christ, and guide us.

Now to Eden's shady groves—
there is no returning—
but forward to a greater love.
Lead us through our yearning.
Not to sorrow's shadowed vale,
there to stay forever,
but on beyond it, whole and well,
let us journey ever.
jesus-healing-the-sick-by-gustave-dore-1832-1883 Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14764413

Then

An angel showed me the river of life-giving water,
sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God
and of the Lamb down the middle of the street,
On either side of the river grew the tree of life
that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month;
the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations.
Nothing accursed will be found anymore.
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it,
and his servants will worship him.
They will look upon his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun,
for the Lord God shall give them light,
and they shall reign forever and ever.

Revelation 22:1-7
Then all the broken promises
and all the severed ties
will be restored with all that is,
where nothing ever dies.

And all that should be but is not
shall be forevermore,
and all that was and then was lost
to us us shall be restored.

The tree of life shall grow again
in orchards, rows on rows,
and Eden's gate be opened then
to everything that grows.

The flaming sword shall plow the ground
to open every grave,
and nothing cursed shall then be found
when all has been remade.

The bodies wedded to decay
shall taste the medicine
that was in Eden locked away,
and they shall live again.

Then all the broken will be healed,
the severed mended then,
and death to endless life shall yield—
but when, my God?  But when?

Painting of life tree in interoer of Shaki Khan palace, Azerbaijan NAtional Art Museum, Usta Gambar Garabagi By Urek Meniashvili – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26760866

Be With Us Here

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”

Luke 17:11-19
O God, refusing to be bound
in heaven's perfect sphere,
who took the pathway plunging down,
be with the fallen here.

The ninety-nine are in their fold;
climb down the deep crevasse
to seek the lost, and safely hold,
and bring them back at last.

You left the Father's painless realm
to draw your people near.
You walked the way of all our flesh:
Be with the lepers here.

The hale and whole no doctors need,
and so you came to heal.
Now show the wounded to the priests;
yourself in them reveal.

And swifter than the spirit moves,
now may your truth appear:
For us who cannot see your love,
be with the blinded here.

For we have said that we are well
and do not see our wounds.
We shut our eyes and tripped and fell:
Come bring us back to you.
Christus und die Aussätzigen, um 1920, Diözesanmuseum Freising, Inv. D94111 By Gebhard Fugel – Own work (fotografiert in der Ausstellung “Gebhard Fugel 1863-1939. Von Ravensburg nach Jerusalem”. Galerie Fähre, Altes Kloster, Bad Saulgau, 2014), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32072389

Seeing

Jesus told his disciples a parable,

“Can a blind person guide a blind person?

Will not both fall into a pit?

No disciple is superior to the teacher;

but when fully trained,

every disciple will be like his teacher.

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,

but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?

How can you say to your brother,

‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’

when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?

You hypocrite!  Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;

then you will see clearly

to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”

Luke 6:39-45
O God, who from high heaven gazes down,
all things to your observant gaze are shown:
The mountain peaks, the trenches most profound,
and all of humankind by you are known.

I cannot see myself, perceiving Lord;
I cannot see the beam that fills my eye,
but you who healed the blind with but a word,
you see, and you alone can give me sight.

Let me not reach to guide another's way—
no, take my hand and lead me in your own.
The shadows I have seen lead me astray:
Send out your light and show me where to go.

Then when my eyes are healed, my vision clear,
oh, then shall I see others as you see
and with your light reach out to draw them near,
as you in endless mercy have drawn me.
By mogelijk B. Picart, Jan Luyken of G. Hoet – Nederlands Bijbel Genootschap, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8368894

Help My Unbelief

Then he questioned his father,

“How long has this been happening to him?”

He replied, “Since childhood.

It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.

But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

Jesus said to him,

“‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”

Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”

Mark 9:14-29

To the tune FINLANDIA:

And do you see my weary tears in torrent?
My light is drowned beneath the seas I weep.
I cannot raise my eyes to see your morning;
they are held down by all the weight of grief.
But still I cry, my heart and soul imploring:
Lord, I believe!  Oh, help my unbelief!

For you alone can heal the wounds I bury,
the sins I hide, the pain that no one sees;
and you alone can lift the cross I carry
and lift me, too, from here upon my knees—
but give me strength to hold you through my terror:
Lord, I believe!  Oh, help my unbelief!

When days of drought have left me dry and thirsty,
the manna's gone and there is naught to eat,
send down the rain to cool my desert's burning;
send signs of hope to grant me some relief.
But more than all, my Savior, send me mercy!
Lord, I believe!  Oh, help my unbelief!
Follower of Filippo Brunelleschi and Masaccio, Christ Healing the Possessed Boy, c. 1450-1460, NGA 43901 – This file was donated to Wikimedia Commons as part of a project by the National Gallery of Art. Please see the Gallery’s Open Access Policy., CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80588858

Lead Me To Your Rest

Come, the night is nearing;
all my days fly west.
I have long been weary,
striving to be blessed.
Gentle stars appearing
show a road unguessed:
Come, O Lord, draw near me;
lead me to your rest.

Come and take my fearing,
take my anxious breath.
Lay the balm of healing
where I long have bled.
Come, new lights revealing
though the sun has fled.
Come, O Lord, draw near me;
lead me to your rest.

Come, on dark ways stealing,
guide my searching steps.
Though I'm stumbling, reeling,
walk beside me yet.
With your mercy seal me;
touch my heart and head.
Come, O Lord, draw near me;
lead me to your rest.
Good shepherd. Russian icon, 19 c. Niederland, private collection By anonimous – http://www.cirota.ru/forum/view.php?subj=47937&order=&pg=1, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4516161

When I Cannot See the Morning

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,

Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,

sat by the roadside begging.

On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,

he began to cry out and say,

“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”

And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. 

But he kept calling out all the more,

“Son of David, have pity on me.”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called the blind man, saying to him,

“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”

He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. 

Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” 

The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” 

Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” 

Immediately he received his sight

and followed him on the way.

Mark 10: 46-52
When I cannot see the morning,
night extinguishes my flame,
as you pass me on your journey,
give me faith to call your name.

When the joyous crowd acclaims you,
drowning out my feeble cry,
give me still the voice to claim you
while you yet are passing by.

Let me call you by your father:
Son of David, pity me!
In our flesh we are as brothers:
Mercy, Lord; I want to see!

When your silence echoes in me,
give me faith that calls the more.
Rich derision though it win me,
I will shout 'til I am hoarse:

Son of David, oh, have mercy
on a son of man and mud!
Fill me 'til your name comes bursting
from the wrack of flesh and blood.

This shall be my burning vision,
light within my deepest night.
This must be my hope and mission
'til at last you give me sight.
De genezing van de blinde te Jericho door de Meester van de Inzameling van het Manna, circa 1470. By Master of the Gathering of the Manna – catharijneverhalen.nl, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30045442

Turning Over

The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.

Matthew 8:8
I am nothing made for greatness;
I will never be the first,
yet I cannot help but crave it
with a deep and piercing thirst.
Do you want this?  Can you save it?
Or is such a hunger cursed?

When you came to turn the tables,
when you upset all our scales
with your kingdom built of stables
and your throne of wood and nails,
did you come for the unable?
Did you save the heart that fails?

Show me, Lord, your turning over
where you treasure all that's least;
how you draw our dying closer,
bringing us to heaven's feast;
how you come to save the lowest
with a love that will not cease.

Teach me, then, to love my weakness
if it brings you to my side;
even so to love my seeking,
love the failures of my pride
if they draw me to your keeping,
loved as your unruly child.
Jesus and the centurion in Capernaum (Matthew 8:5), miniature, de:Codex Egberti, Trier, Stadtbibliothek, cod. 24, fol. 22r, detail Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10204508

When I consider that my light is bent

Jesus told his disciples a parable:

“Can a blind person guide a blind person?

Will not both fall into a pit?

No disciple is superior to the teacher;

but when fully trained,

every disciple will be like his teacher.

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,

but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?

How can you say to your brother,

‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’

when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?

You hypocrite!  Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;

then you will see clearly

to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”

Luke 6: 39-42
I cannot see the beam that dims my eye;
I think the light I see is all there is.
I do not sense my savior standing by
who waits to make my vision more like his.

But then he reaches out, and something shifts,
and I am stunned by what I start to see
as what I did not know was darkness lifts.
A light I had not known yet pierces me.

O healer of my life and of my soul,
come place your hands upon mine as they grope
to catch the beam and make my vision whole,
and see at last the beacon of your hope.

When in that light I see yet other beams—
enough to hang your body by the nails—
still guide me, though my hope but dimply gleams.
Still be the healing hand that never fails.

And one by one help me to draw them out,
until my vision clears yet more and more.
Help me to seek the light through all my doubt,
and make my sight at last, my Lord, like yours.
Mote and Beam By Minus Megerdich Zorab / Minus (Minas) M. Zorab (1833–1896) – http://images.wellcome.ac.uk/indexplus/image/V0017118.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24156987