Monday, 6 February 2012

Mark 1:40-45 Seeing Christ in Others

One day whilst out walking, a man fell into a ditch.

His cries for help eventually attracted a doctor, who walked up to the pit, looked at the man trapped down at the bottom of the pit, and threw a prescription into the ditch.

Next a priest walked by and the man yelled again for help. The priest looked into the pit, and seeing the man trapped there, offered to say a prayer.

Sometime later a man walked by, seeing the man in the ditch and hearing his call for help, the man jumped into the ditch.

The man who was trapped in the ditch said, "How are we going to get out now that you are here too?”  To which the man replied, "I have been in this ditch before and I will lead you out."

That is the mark of a true friend, one who will lead another out of the ditch.

In our Gospel reading today, Jesus did something not too dissimilar to the man who had leprosy.  When the man with leprosy approached Jesus, Jesus could see this man’s life of pain and misery, and did something extraordinary, he reached out and touched him.  For the man who had leprosy, it is unlikely that anyone had touched him for a very long time, because of the fear and stigma that surrounded leprosy.  When Princess Diana held the hand of a man dying from Aids, it also had a similar impact, because people were so fearful of Aids. 

What many people would have seen would have been the man’s sickness and leprosy.  He would have had a name, but for many people who saw him, he was simply a leper.  But Jesus saw the man, the man who needed love, acceptance and healing.  And by reaching out and touching the man Jesus, identified with him, and  led him out of the ditch of despair, loneliness, misery, pain and suffering.

The challenge for me in this passage is how do I see and treat others?  One of the recent TV highlights for me has been the BBC comedy Rev, about the trials of a fictional vicar called Adam, working in a parish in central London.  One of the people Adam regularly has to deal with is a man called Mick.  Mick is a drug addict, who regularly visits the vicarage, in order to try and con Adam out of money, in order to buy drugs.  There was one particularly moving episode recently where Adam found Mick lying semi conscious outside the church.  Mick had been lying there all night, as a result of taking drugs.  When Mick eventually came round, he told Adam that he wanted help to beat his drug addiction, and once he stopped taking the drugs, Mick changed, he became a completely different person.  And the challenge for Adam and his wife was how they were going to relate to this new Mick, because they were so familiar with Mick the drug addict, and it was hard for them to see beyond that to Mick the man.  I found this very challenging, just as I find this Bible reading challenging.  Because it is all too easy sometimes to judge people, rather than seeing their true humanity, rather than seeing them as a child of Christ.  Mother Theresa was once asked what motivated her, to care for the poor and destitute in Calcutta, and she answered, it was because each of them was Christ.  She saw beyond their ragged clothes, dirt, and sickness, and saw Jesus.

So the challenge for us today, is how do we learn to see Christ in others?  Who are the people you know, lying trapped in a ditch, whether that be a ditch of depression, sickness, loneliness, addiction, fear, etc., etc.,?  And are you prepared to reach out to them with the hand of friendship, and lead them out of that ditch? 

1 comment:

  1. im so thankful that today i come to discover your blog :-)
    i like what i read... inspiring