May 28

“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.”  Psalm 25:16

“The sick man answered Jesus, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.’  Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up, take your mat and walk.”  John 5:7-8

I have been hoping for verses about spring flowers, lush trees, and birds … perhaps the lilies of field more beautiful than Solomon’s robes, or “[God’s] eye is on the sparrow” but …    

… “And I know [God] watches me.”  There is comfort in today’s verses for the current situation.  But it isn’t current.  There were lonely and afflicted people before 2020.  There have been people waiting for healing water all around us, everywhere, if we hadn’t noticed.  Perhaps we have stepped ahead of others, through indifference and complacency; thinking afflictions are problems in other countries, in poor places … “those people” whom we judge as weak or less motivated, taking for granted our own privileges.  Whom would you lift into the pool?  Family and friends, surely.  Immigrants and refugees?  Strangers with bewildered eyes barely visible above a mask, beneath long hair?  God is for all time and all places, for all people and all their troubles, as surely as our own.  God stirs the water in various ways … voices, faces … bible verses, hymns … early morning, sunset … those trees and birds I wanted to write about. 

When we emerge from God’s healing pool into a new world that is evolving day by day, we just may sense some improvements in ourselves … a deeper gratitude for what we have; greater empathy for the hurts and losses of others – which are terrible; renewed appreciation of the natural world; a healthy, spiritual awareness of our vulnerability and mortality, our need for forgiveness and trust in God’s grace.

God, be gracious to us.  Stir up in us your healing water.  Help us take up our mats and walk, to trust in you to carry us when we cannot.  Give us added strength, show us what we can do, to help others into the healing pool of your peace.  Amen

Verla Olson