Be Opened! (poem)

Who is this man, the one who speaks to us?

We’ve never seen anyone like him.

He speaks with authority,

He heals everyone who comes to him –

the deaf, the mute, the blind.

He even raised people from the dead!

Jesus knows, we are beautiful on the inside.

He sees our treasure, when all we see is trash.

He tells us that we are the light of the world,

to share that light with others.

Don’t hide your light! Be opened!

“Ephphatha” he said to one person.

“Talitha, koum!” he said to another.

Both times, calling to us, here, now.

“Be opened! Arise from the dead!” Awaken!

Peter said “Command me, Lord”

and he was able to walk on water.

He commands us too, and we can do anything

because he asks.

Our brokenness is God’s doorway.

He stands at the doorway of our hearts and knocks.

Be opened!

On geodes and cracks and God

Leonard Cohen says – “There is a crack in everything. / That’s how the light gets in.”

geode2

The Gospel tells us –
A man who was deaf and had a speech impediment was brought there by a person who begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man and heal him.

Jesus led him away from the crowds so he could heal him privately. He put his fingers in the man’s ears, spat, and then touched the man’s tongue. He then looked up to heaven, sighed deeply, and said in Aramaic “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”) The man was instantly freed from his afflictions and was able to see and speak perfectly.

He ordered the crowd to not tell anyone about what had happened, but the more he ordered them, the more they spread the news. They were amazed and told everyone “He does everything well! He even makes deaf people hear and cures people of being unable to speak!”

MK 7:31-37 (From The Condensed Gospel rendition)

geode1
The outside is boring and dull on a geode. There is nothing special to see. But when you crack it open, there is amazing beauty inside. This is how God sees us – beautiful on the inside. God sees what others cannot. Also, I find it excellent to mediate on the fact that you can’t see the beauty until this rock has been broken open. It is the trials that we undergo that bring out our true nature.

Healing in secret – Mark 7:31-37

Jesus was forever healing people and telling them not to tell. They rarely listened to him. Here’s one of the readings for today that illustrates this.

“31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into 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.” 35 And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” (NRSV translation)

Now, let’s look at this more closely.

“32 They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him.”

The man is deaf and also has a hard time talking. He probably isn’t mute. These are probably his friends who have brought him. People were constantly bringing sick and infirm people to Jesus. Sometimes people came on their own, and sometimes Jesus came across them. I find it interesting that they felt that physical proximity was necessary, or even that he had to touch him. Jesus touched a lot of people to heal them, but in some cases he just said a word and they were healed. There wasn’t one particular way that he healed – he just healed.

“33 He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue.”

I find it interesting that he took him aside to do this. He didn’t heal him in front of everybody. He wasn’t trying to get attention. He just wanted to heal the man and not make a big show of it. I’m not sure what the spitting part is about – I don’t recall Jesus doing that with any other healings. Now, here’s an interesting point – he couldn’t have been truly alone, because otherwise how would we know what he did in such detail? I suspect his disciples were there with him.

“34 Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”

I love the fact that he sighed. I can only imagine that Jesus was getting tired of being called on all the time to heal. I wonder if that was what he thought he was going to do all throughout his ministry? Perhaps he planned on just telling people that the Kingdom of God was near, and that all their sins were forgiven. Perhaps he didn’t realize how many people would be hounding him for healing.

It is significant that he looked up to heaven. He’s calling upon God. He’s connecting with the Source of all healing. He did this before both examples of the loaves and fishes miracle too.

“Be opened” is a good meditation for any time we feel stuck. By opening ourselves, we are allowing healing to enter us. Also, it is helpful to remember that the broken spaces in our bodies and in our lives is the way in for God. This way of thinking actually sanctifies our pain and brokenness.

I find it interesting that this is one of the few times that the word that Jesus spoke is included in the Gospels. In the English translations they don’t usually put his actual words. Why this one, especially when it is a hard-to-pronounce one?

“35 And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

Now, this is kind of funny to me. Why bother to tell the man he just healed not to tell people that Jesus had healed him? They are going to figure it out really soon. They brought him to Jesus when he was deaf and had a speech impediment. The two of them go away, and now he can hear and talk normally. Of course Jesus healed him. Well, God healed him, through Jesus. But the crowds aren’t going to get that. They are just going see the healing, and see Jesus, and figure it out. So it can’t really be a secret for very long.

There were certainly plenty of other times where Jesus healed people and there weren’t crowds around. He told them to not tell, and they did anyway. This only made it harder for him to travel or get any rest.

Now, this calls to mind the present-day idea that we are supposed to give credit to Jesus when we are healed. It seems from reading the Gospels that this is the last thing that Jesus wants.