The Gospel writers Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell the story of how a group of friends brought a quadriplegic to Jesus to be healed. Unable to make their way through the crowd, they went up on the roof, dug a hole in it, and lowered the man through.
Some years ago, I heard the moderator of our denomination say she frequently preached on this passage in her travels. She said that she used to preach that the church was like the quadriplegic, but that she had reconsidered. She now thought the church was like the friends who brought the quadriplegic to Jesus.
OK. The church has lost some of its privileged place in the culture. The church can get paralyzed, crowded out.
But the moderator missed the point. The story isn’t about the quadriplegic or his friends. It’s about Jesus.
In the last few days, a few unruly guests have disrupted our compassion ministries. Since the cold weather shelter has closed for the summer, the homeless downtown can be seen everywhere, and some are causing problems here.
While we were dealing with this, hundreds of Christians worshipping on Easter were killed in church bombings in Sri Lanka, reminding us that Christians are still being martyred around the world today.
For many years to come, it is going to get harder to be the church, not easier. Our church can’t escape the challenges of the city, even if we tried to wall ourselves off. We can be paralyzed by fear, or we can summon up our courage and do bold things.
There is someone this broken world needs. He’s still someone worth going through the roof to get to.