“Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him?”
James 2:5 (RSV)
Poor and fearful of heart, blind and imprisoned, deaf, speech impaired.
These do not strike me as circumstances I’d gladly inhabit. Yet, every one of the readings for this week either promises or delivers our Lord’s healing touch, saving action, or eternal hospitality to ones such as these:
Isaiah 35:4, “Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come and save you.”
Psalm 146:7b-8a, “The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.”
Mark 7:32, 35, “And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they besought him to lay his hand upon him . . . And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.”
In all of these messages from Sacred Scripture, starting with the quote from James above, it is God who takes the action, who bestows gifts and graces, who touches, who comes and saves, who chooses. And isn’t it just like him to choose this lot?
It shouldn’t surprise me. For 63 years, now, it’s been when I was painfully, fearfully aware of my utter helplessness — bound and imprisoned in sin, unemployed and burdened by overwhelming debt, blind to the light and deaf to the voice of his unchanging truth — that he came most powerfully and personally to touch me, free me, grant me the grace of faith.
And it was with that pain of desperation so fresh in my memory, when I knew in my bones I’d been rescued by his powerful grace alone, that I could, at last, start loving him back.
Gracious God and Savior, thank you for coming to free us when we’re trapped; help us love you so that we can live in you always. Amen
Do I forget, when I’m far from pain, poverty, and fear, to love the One who freed and healed me?
Written by Victoria Carver