Holy Disturbance: Pulling Apart

Advent week three: Pulling Apart.
art: Madeleine Boisclair-Joly.
concept design: Angela Neufeld.

In this week’s passage, Luke 5:17-26, holy disruption occurred when young men pulled apart roof tiles to gain their friend a wide, free access to the presence of Jesus. They had such enormous devotion to their friend that they would pull apart a roof.

Jesus looked at the young man and said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Listening, the religious leaders who had gathered in the house from great distances to size up Jesus, grew disturbed. “Who gave these men the right to pull apart that roof? Only the owner has the authority to put a hole in his roof. Who gave Jesus the right to forgive sins? Only God, the creator of all souls, has the authority to forgive sins.”

As gatekeepers of their faith tradition, these men were predisposed towards judgment and the determination of right and wrong. Threatened by the disturbance, they too, like the young men, begin the activity of pulling apart. They pulled apart Jesus’ words with their intellects, challenging his right to forgive sins.

This is the repeating pattern of the gospels: Jesus gave wider and wider access to the loving presence of God, while the religious rulers found that this very widening threatened their sensibilities of right and wrong. 

In the story, Jesus sees both groups of men—the faith-filled youth shouldering with devotion the weight of their friend and the religious leader shouldering with devotion the responsibility of their faith tradition. He healed the man, restoring his movement, and the young man went away walking and leaping for joy. And the older men went away celebrating the mystery together, “We have seen remarkable things today!” A holy disturbance, prompted by the exclusion of the young men from the house and their resulting refusal to be excluded, resulted in this moment of shared joy and freedom.

I wonder what needs to be pulled apart in our church so that people may have the widest possible access to Jesus?

I wonder what needs to be pulled apart in Christianity?

I wonder what needs to be pulled apart within you and me?

Deep peace and blessings.

—Anne

Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor of the Church at Southpoint

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ADVENT
Holy Disturbance: Where Does It Hurt?

Sun. Dec 19, 10:00 am
Breaking Through     Peace
Speaker: Anne Smith Luke 2: 1-7
Screening of kids’ Nativity performance (Credit: Lily & Lynne Oger!)

Sun. Dec. 26
NO SERVICE

Sun. Jan. 2, 10:00 am
Speaker: Brent Unrau

Sun. Jan. 9, 10:00 am
Speaker: Anne Smith

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