Daily Reflection
January 19th, 2000
Jen Hogan
Department of Residence Life
1 Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51
Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
Mark 3:1-6

It seems to me that today's readings are about courage.  An outmatched David challenges and defeats Goliath.  Jesus provokes the powerful Pharisees by healing a man, in the synagogue, on the Sabbath.  And the man who was healed shows his deformity to all, and risks both healing and the condemnation of the Pharisees.

Of all these examples of courage, I identify most with the man with the withered hand.  When I pray with these readings I try to put myself in his place and imagine what it would be like.  As I sit listening to and watching Jesus in the synagogue, I am filled with a mixture of hope and fear.  Hoping that Jesus is as powerful and compassionate as they say, and he really will heal me of this lifelong affliction.  And yet afraid to draw attention to myself and my ugliness, afraid of what others will say if I ask him, afraid that he can't, or won't....  Abruptly comes his compelling invitation.  My heart shrinks back, engulfed in fear.  Then a courage from outside myself allows the deeper "yes" to surface, and I am suddenly standing before Jesus and all the assembly.  Another commanding invitation - "Stretch out your hand!"  The embarrassment, shame and humiliation crowd in again, but now I can see his eyes and the healing is there - I just have to reach out for it -. 

In the act of reaching out toward Jesus I realize that he is offering me much more than a physical cure.  Healing.  Restoration.  No more fear.  So many things inside me are withered - some sinful, others just human - and he wants to heal all of them.  Some I am afraid to let him heal, or even see.  There are some days in prayer when I can hardly answer his first invitation ("stand here before me"), much less his second ("hold out your weakness to me").  On those days I have to look into his eyes and let his courage unearth my deeper "yes," the desire beneath my fears, my longing for healing, wholeness.  Then my own courage is kindled to let him see what is withered in me, to reach out and be touched and restored by his love.

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