Archive for March 26th, 2019

1 Timothy 4:6-16: Mourning Into Dancing

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

At the Pool of Bethsaida

If ever we are in doubt as to how to serve as a role model when in community, Paul’s letters to Timothy are a mine of wealth.  Regarding slavery, the rights of women and children, and respect due to non-heterosexuals, we understand the thinking of the times.  We take all of this in its ancient context and shift it to the twenty-first century, adding all that has been revealed to us over the millennia about these topics.  Despite the change in science and understanding, this is still good advice for us to consider . . . and it is the only way to build community . . . the only way to build Christ’s kingdom.

Call everyone to unity through diversity.

Remove contempt and profanity from our thinking.

Walk away from silly myths.

Demonstrate trustworthiness by our actions.

Express respect for all in everything we think, do and say.

Persevere, work on ourselves, mark progress.

Nurture the gift of self that we bring to the world.

Paul advises Timothy that the best way to form and build community is by persisting in performing these simple tasks which come together in such a big way.  We are to look for the joy which awaits . . . usually hidden in some conflict.

This all reminds me of a verse from today’s Gospel (John 5:1-16) when Jesus asks the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda: Do you want to be well?  Despite the fact that Jesus knows all our unspoken thoughts, he asks this man if he wishes to be new?  This particular man replies in the affirmative, and he is healed.  This having happened on a Sabbath, this man must work to defend his cure.  This causes conflict.  Usually, as Paul tells Timothy, celebration is accompanied by grief . . . and this is something we must expect; however, our sorrow may turn into dancing if we follow the advice given to Timothy.  This is often difficult to understand.

Do you want to be well?  Jesus asks us this frequently, yet are we prepared to take up our mat and walk, despite the pain?  We, like Timothy with Paul and like the man in today’s Gospel . . . are free to answer either yes or no.

Do you want to be well?  Paul calls Timothy to ask this question of his fledging congregation, despite the conflict.

Do you want to be well?  We are likewise called to ask this question of one another, to seek common ground amidst our differences and look for unity, despite the barriers.

Do you want to be well?  We are called to rise to this challenge, despite the fact that we often wish to wallow for awhile in our tears.

Today we pray: Paul describes to Timothy and to us how we might allow God to enter our lives in order that we become a beacon for the community.  When we hear Christ’s voice how will we reply to his call?

Do we want to be well?  Let us shed our paralysis and persist in outrageous dreams and hopes.

Do we want to be well?  Let us transform our addictions and self-satisfaction through the fire of the conflicts we are willing to share.

Do we want to be well?  Let us redeem broken promises with forgiveness.

Do we want to be well?  Let us turn from our idols to the one true God.

Do we want to be well?  Let us be willing to allow God to exchange our sorrow for joy.

Do we want to be well?  Yes!


Adapted from a reflection posted on March 26, 2019.

Image from http://home.comcast.net/~londonjr/artwork/atthepoolofbethesda.htm

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