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You Are My Witnesses: A Spiritual Journey for the Second Sunday in Lent

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Editor’s Note: Missio Alliance is partnering with eleven:28 Ministries to provide Lenten meditations entitled “You Are My Witnesses: A Spiritual Journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter,” by Amy Bost Henegar. These reflections began on Ash Wednesday, and are available on Sundays starting the second Sunday in Lent, culminating on Easter. We invite you to set aside 10 minutes or so to move through the meditation below. You can listen to the podcast version here and/or read along with the edited transcription below. We are grateful to eleven:28 for sharing this resource with the Missio Alliance community and pray that it helps you in your Lenten journey this year.


Let’s begin by reminding yourself you are in God’s presence.

Notice how God may be speaking to you today.

Let yourself dwell on a word or phrase that catches your attention or moves your heart.

Let your heart respond to God in prayer.

***

Please repeat these words:

Open my heart to you Lord
And my mouth will declare your praise.

***

Take a minute to notice your breath.

Observe the shifting of breath and energy in the body.

Notice how God is breathing life into you at this very moment.

As God breathed life into the first human beings,

As the Spirit of God breathes life and energy into our souls,

You are right now, in this moment, receiving the gift of breath.

As you inhale, feel the energy of God lift you up,
As you exhale, surrender to gravity, grounded vocation of service in this world.

Just rest in this space for a moment. Observe your breath. Offer your thoughts and feelings to God without trying to control or change anything.

A reading from John 5:1-15:

Some time after this, there was a Jewish festival and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem, near the Sheep Gate, there is a pool with five porticoes; its Hebrew name is Bethesda. The place was crowded with sick people—those who were blind, lame or paralyzed—lying there waiting for the water to move. An angel of God would come down to the pool from time to time, to stir up the water; the first one to step into the water after it had been stirred up would be completely healed. One person there had been sick for thirty-eight years. Jesus, who knew this person had been sick for a long time, said, “Do you want to be healed?”

“Rabbi,” the sick one answered, “I don’t have anyone to put me into the pool once the water has been stirred up. By the time I get there, someone else has gone in ahead of me.”

Jesus replied, “Stand up! Pick up your mat and walk.” The individual was immediately healed, and picked up the mat and walked away.

This happened on a Sabbath. Consequently, some of the Temple authorities said to the one who had been healed, “It’s the Sabbath! You’re not allowed to carry that mat around!” The healed one explained, “But the person who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ” They asked, “ Who is this who told you to pick up your mat and walk?”

The healed person had no idea who it was, since Jesus had disappeared into the crowd that filled the place.

Later on, Jesus met the individual in the Temple and said, “Remember, now, you’ve been healed. Give up your sins so that something worse won’t overtake you.” The healed one went off and informed the Temple authorities that Jesus was the one who had performed the healing.

A Reflection

Thirty-eight years.

Waiting.

Waiting and watching opportunities come and pass by.

Again and again and again.

Enter into this story in your imagination.

Feel the air, hear the sounds, see the people around the pool.

Waiting to be healed.

Hear Jesus’s voice.

Do you want to be healed?

I do.

I do want to be healed.

But I can’t.

The cards are stacked against me.

The system is rigged to keep me out.

Do you want to be healed?

I do.

“Then stand up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

Hear Jesus’s voice speaking with compassion to the man who has waited thirty-eight years for healing.

Hear Jesus’s words, “Stand up. Pick up your mat and walk.”

Are you waiting?

Do you want to be healed?

Can you hear Jesus’ words spoken to you?

“Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk.”

***

The Disciples
by Ann Weems

Hurting, they came to him.

Healed, they followed him.

Grateful, they gave to him

What they had and what they were.

Blessed, they became a blessing

And went out to all the world

In his name.

Those who are hurt

And healed

grateful

And blessed

Still move among us

In his name.

***

We pray today in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray:
Our father, which art in heaven
Eternal God, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and all that shall be,
Not only Father, but Mother of us all,
May the hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
May the way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
May your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
May your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love now and forever.
Amen.1


Benediction

God our savior, Jesus our redeemer,

You hear the cries of our hearts and

Heal us with your love.

We want to be healed, O Lord

Just say the word and we will be healed.

We trust in your unfailing love.

Amen.

***

Until we meet again, Go in peace.


[1] The Lord’s Prayer, adapted from the New Zealand Anglican Book of Common Prayer

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