Last week we took Bible readings at either end of the Bible to show that God’s work has been continuous and that God stood beside Adam and Isaac and Jacob and then in the person of Jesus – beside the likes of the Samaritan woman, Peter, Paul and John.
And further through our story of Kim Payne we learnt that the Spirit of Christ remains with us to heal the blind and preach the good news.
Part of that good news is that it is up to you and I to bring our human hands to that heavenly task.
Today we focus on the full relationship we are mean to have with God and how we might work towards that.
Our first reading reminds us that we are to live and work in the realms of heaven and of earth to help create a new earth. Jesus is again on the move travelling in time and place as he seeks to create a new space for a man blind from birth.
Without asking the man what he wants – Jesus brings healing and wholeness and the way he does this is most interesting. Jesus takes his own saliva [something very earthy but also containing the DNA of heaven] and mixes it with the dust on the ground – he makes a paste and applies it to the man’s eyes. The man washes in the living water at the Pool of Siloam and can see.
The story is indeed one about healing but it is also one about the healer Jesus – with God and man in him.
Adam’s name in Genesis means ‘man of the earth’ and undeniably in Genesis 3:19 God reminds Adam that ‘from dust you came and to dust you will return.’
But here earthly dust and heavenly spit combine to bring about a restoration of our brokenness that occurred when Adam was expelled from the Garden. Wholeness as well as healing is written large into this event.
While mentioning the fall story in Genesis, we always need to be reminded that God never left Adam and his descendants. We are told God made clothes for Adam and Eve and provided a world for them outside Eden. God continued to talk to Cain, but it was Cain who went away from the presence of God, not the other way around [see Genesis 4:16].
Like the father in the story of the Prodigal Son, God remains – he waits until he sees him and runs towards his son and then embraces him – reclothes him – and gives him a place of honour back in the family – no matter what the son has done to himself, to others or even to his father. That is grace and with grace healing flows.
Our final reading of the selected passages from the gospel of John reminds us of the reconciliation and healing that come through Jesus’ atoning death and his resurrection. But it also talks of the stages we work through – to recognise and like in that restoration of relationship with Christ.
On the first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene was standing at the empty tomb, crying. Jesus appears looking like the Gardener – he calls her by name. ‘Mary’ he says. This same Jesus who intimately knows and calls us by name, initiates that first phase of healing – but it was not complete – She calls him by the very human title – ‘Rabboni’ – teacher.
A little while later, when he meets up with the disciple Thomas, once again the relationship is not complete. Jesus doesn’t call Thomas by name – but simply offers Thomas proof of his existence. A penny drops for Thomas and he says ‘Kurios nou kai o those mou’ – My Lord and my God. ‘Kurios’ can be rendered as ‘Sir’, ‘Lord’ and ‘master – as the human side of Jesus but also as the divine God – just like the Samaritan woman at the well that we heard about last week.
But more healing and full relationship is still to come and we see it just a few short verses later – this time between the apostle Peter and Jesus Christ.
Here Jesus calls Peter by name and Peter recognises Jesus for who he is, he calls him his Lord [and implicitly calls him God] and he converses with him openly and frankly. Interestingly in verse 12 – although the other disciples recognise him [including Thomas] none dare ask him ‘Who are you? Even though they knew it was the Lord.
Communication and intimacy and healing are restored in a love that will not let us go.
But we need to come and be a full part of that relationship in our prayer and faith life.
I believe we also have our own restorative part in and through the healing ministry in this church.
As we heard in these three passages from the resurrection story. Jesus initiates the communication, intimately calling us each by name. We respond as Thomas did to proclaim that Jesus is our Lord and our God and then like the coming together of Peter and Jesus, we too are empowered to bring that healing to all.
When we have our next healing service – you can pray for us, attend, bring a friend. You will see how Heaven and Earth are linked by a ladder, linked by a well that provides living water and linked by a cross that points to the earth and points heavenward with arms that stretch to the East and the West.
Come – what’s stopping you?