Sunday, July 25, 2004

Cripples at the Gate called Beautiful.  Today in Van's Sunday School class, we considered Acts 3 where Peter heals the crippled beggar.  I thought of the beggar as representing me, perhaps representing all of us, especially those of us who are older, but especially representing me. 

By now, some of us older folks have made peace with our shortcomings and disabilities.  We sit just where we are, we have given up trying to move closer to Christ's character.  I remember a very difficult woman who was a member of our church and, to our relief, left us a few years ago.  She insisted that her very difficult and self-involved attitude was "the way I am", and it was up to the rest of us to accept her as she was.  That's what unconditional love is all about, she insisted.  She had made peace with her neuroses, and we were to make peace with them too.  She is not so different from me.

What have I decided that I cannot do?  I have decided I cannot do a lot of things.  I see a way that Christ would have me grow, and I say that I cannot go there.  I have tried over the years to move in that direction in this respect or that, but I am 58 years old now, and what's the use.  I will sit here at the gate called Beautiful, ask for a hand-out from my friends and from strangers, and watch them pass by into the Temple.

Then Peter said "Look at us!".  So the man gave him his attention, expecting to get something from them.  Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk."

(But I gave up trying to walk decades ago, the beggar said to himself.  I haven't even thought about walking in years.)

Taking him by the right hand, Peter helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong.  He jumped to his feet and began to walk.    Then he went with them, Peter and John, into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.  They went to the place called "Solomon's Colonnade", named for the most successful of all the Kings of Israel:  more wealth, more wives, more wisdom than anyone ever.  One wife is plenty, but more wealth and more wisdom, I'll take that.   Frankly, at this point I'll more than settle for the wisdom.

Take my hand, Precious Lord.  Make my feet and ankles strong.  I want into the Temple.  Help me look at others the way you do.  Help me look at myself in relation to them, to see myself as you would have me to be.  I want to jump up and begin to walk.

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