Saturday, March 12, 2022 | Mark 2:23-3:6
I, with the accusers, relish the shriveled hand because it deflects from my shriveled heart.
I don’t delight in the pain (all things equal, I’d rather the man didn’t suffer) but in this case the pain serves a higher purpose. The pain accuses Jesus, and I need to accuse Jesus because I need to not need Him. The pain accuses Jesus by existing in the first place — didn’t He create this tortured world? But if He relieves the pain, then He stands accused by the law He dictated. It’s a win-win.
Of course, I don’t keep the Sabbath (I need to not need Him) so I can’t drift down this line of pietistic logic to its smug conclusion and must instead devise my own snares of accusation. Still, beyond shriveled hands, there’s plenty of pain out there to show Him for the fraud He is. Take your pick from this year’s headlines. We’ve got war, pandemic, volcanoes, tornadoes, racial injustice — all of these accuse; all bring relief.
But the relief masks. It does not soothe. It does not block out the whispers of grace, the whispers that say all this pain — yes, but bear with me and there’s more. The more might be good when you get there, but it first means a life unmasked. No shield of accusation to protect my shriveled heart. Nah. Give me a shriveled hand, a grainfield on a Sabbath, a cross and nails…
I, “with the Pharisees, went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.” (3:6)
Jamie was confirmed at Trinity Cathedral in 2018 and has regularly attended services there since early 2020. On Sundays, he volunteers as an usher and lay reader, and he also serves on the marketing committee. He is married to Trinity’s Assisting Priest, the Rev. Bonnie-Marie Yager-Wiggan.