February 2016 already. Can you believe it?
Seriously, #1thingisneeded – never forget how quickly time passes. It feels like just yesterday, we were celebrating the new year. I didn’t have like a big 2016 blog entry, but we bid 2015 farewell and paraded in 2016 with hopes, promises, and resolutions.
But now, over a month has passed and I kinda feel like nothing has changed. I’ve never been a huge fan of resolutions for that reason…I don’t want to be let down by my failures.
I learned something interesting recently – did you know monks and nuns in the monasteries did not celebrate New Year’s until (very) recently? To a monk – every day is the start of a new year. Every new day is a chance at renewal, refreshment. Interesting thought. I figure this should be why I avoid resolutions: 7 weeks into 2016 and I haven’t changed to the (maybe dramatic) extent I wished. I should be seeking daily renewal. Small & realistic changes. Today begins my new year.
To have renewal, I need healing. Mark chapter 7 contains the account of a man who had 2 issues which needed healing. Check this out:
32 Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. 33 And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. 34 Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”
Reading this passage reminded me how selfish I am in my prayer and resolutions. Others brought him to Jesus and ‘begged‘. I don’t spend enough time begging on behalf of my friends and family for Christ to touch them (and me). But – because of those that begged on his behalf we see the healing. Let’s briefly charge through the 7 steps (in Mark 7 – **mnemonic**) because they knew 1thingisneeded – healing.
- Jesus took him aside from the multitude – I’ll NEVER experience healing if I do not get to the 1-on-1 time with Christ. Here I need to see Him alone, and uncover my ailments open to Him. This is imperative.
- Jesus put His fingers in his ears – What!? The mental image is awkward right? Christ knew what the problem was: his ears. He addresses it directly. 1st.
- Jesus spat…
- …and touched his tongue – These two happen together. His healing is to the point, and He intervenes right away. And if you thought the last mental image was uncomfortable…what about this? Jesus’ plans for my healing may not be the easiest, or the most simple. I may be uncomfortable for my sanctification.
- Jesus looked up to heaven – Christ’s healing is not apart from the Trinity. 3 in 1. Jesus prays for us, like He prayed for Peter, like He prayed for all mankind at Gethsemane.
- Jesus sighed – Why do you think He sighs? Our corruption? Our desire for signs (find the word ‘sigh’ in Mark 8…you’ll see an explanation there)
- Jesus said “Be opened” – This is the Supernatural. The Physician’s intervening that we cannot attain without His involvement. This is what we await.
So did He need the 7 steps? Absolutely not. Christ needs no stepwise progression towards a goal – He can create from nothing. He’s Omnipotent. But He is also a God of order, and the 7 steps add up to His perfect plan. For each of us, our steps may be different, but variations of #1, an intervention, and #7 will most likely be present.
So those were quick notes on the 7 steps…but I can’t wait for you to read this. If 1thingisneeded from this post, it is this quote from St. Ephrem the Syrian.
That power which may not be handled came down and clothed itself in members that may be touched, that the desperate may draw near to him, that in touching his humanity they may discern his divinity. For that speechless man the Lord healed with the fingers of his body. He put his fingers into the man‘s ears and touched his tongue. At that moment with fingers that may be touched, he touched the Godhead that may not be touched. Immediately this loosed the string of his tongue, and opened the clogged doors of his ears. For the very architect of the body itself and artificer of all flesh had come personally to him, and with his gentle voice tenderly opened up his obstructed ears. Then his mouth which had been so closed up that it could not give birth to a word, gave birth to praise him who made its barrenness fruitful. The One who immediately had given to Adam speech without teaching, gave speech to him so that he could speak easily a language that is learned only with difficulty. -Ephrem the Syrian
Amazing. So on point. And this is what takes place EVERY time we partake of the Holy Communion – its us uniting with Him.
Here’a the scripture to conclude the passage:
35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly. 36 Then He commanded them that they should tell no one; but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”
If we cannot hear correctly, our speech will be impeded. Use this as a rule to guard our senses, because the input alters the output. If my hearing is impure, so goes my speaking. Are you with me? My brothers and sisters, if you need healing today – take the first step on your own, or with some supportive friends. If you handle that, honestly showing yourself known to Him, He will take care of the rest.
Indeed – He has done all things well. He is good. His healing is available now, so that we may praise Him with our loosened tongues. Renewal = #1thingisneeded. Celebrate your new year today. Happy New Year.