Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Getting the clay out of the way

We have started a study on miracles in the John Wesley class.  We are trying to look deeper into the miracles and think about the ones who were healed, the ones who were witnesses, how the miracle changed those lives and also how those miracles change our lives today.  On Sunday, we looked at the miracle found in Mark chapter 2 verses 1-12.  Just in case you aren't familiar with it . . .or don't have your Bible handy . . .here is the scripture compliments of www.Biblegateway.com.

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

I've heard sermons on this miracle and I've used those friends in devotions and I've probably even taught another Sunday School lesson along the way on that same miracle.  But I have purchased a multitude of books on the miracles of Jesus and I have read a ton of sermons on line about miracles.  I came across a novel idea in a minister's sermon.  While trolling around online, I found a sermon by a minister from another denomination.  I loved his main point . . .so I borrowed it (and if I could remember his name, I would certainly give him credit -- and if I have it in my other computer, I'll give credit to him later).  The name of his sermon was "Getting the clay out of the way."  The friends in the story had to get the clay on the roof out of the way in order to hear Jesus, to see his face and to lower their friend into his presence.

I took his sermon title and ran with it.  I thought of the story about being a cracked pot . . .and how all the hurts and troubles in our lives make cracks in our "pots" (that is us!!) and that others can only see the light of Jesus shining through each of us IF we have cracks in our pots.  I don't know about you but I've had some bad things happen in my life that have left many broken places.  I hope the light of Christ is shining through those spaces.  (ok - funny aside here . . .at the end of class, we circle up and I close with prayer.  Now we are talking about 55 people . . .and my last sentence in my prayer was something about letting the light of Jesus shine through our cracks . . .and I caught it and added "cracked pots."  I know that we are grown ups in our class - by AGE - but that would have made several people laugh out loud . . .and I'm sure that God would have thought it was funny . . .and now I have this picture of someone's "crack" (you know which one) with a light shining out of it . . .I am so glad that God has a sense of humor!!)  I also thought of the story of the water bearer for the king.  He went to the river every day to bring back water.  He carried two pots of water - one on each end of a long stick thrown over his shoulders.  One of the pots had a broken place that leaked water every day.  The servant lived in a dry area and alongside the dirt path where that little bit of water fell every single day - sometimes twice a day . . .gorgeous green grass and flowers bloomed . . .all because of a cracked pot.

We talked about what makes up the clay in our lives . . .our sins . . .whether they be private sins such as pornography or public sins such as getting angry at the ballpark and using profanity.  Other clay that might need to be broken away from our lives would be the sin of greed or the sin of being a cheater (like on your taxes . . .someone told me that I was getting too personal with that one!!).  Clay in your life could be that you are one of those people who lie all the time.  Our culture has begun to think that lying is normal - IT IS NOT FOR A CHRISTIAN!!

That clay in our own lives keeps us from hearing God.  That clay keeps us from seeing the face of Christ.  That clay in our own lives keeps us from that close relationship with Christ -- NOT BECAUSE OF CHRIST but because of us. 

On Saturday night, I made little tiny clay crosses for everyone in the class.  I bought brown clay but they were so ugly . . . sin is ugly . . .but I didn't make brown crosses.  Instead I made bright pink and green and orange crosses . . .because there is forgiveness for our sins (and forgiveness of sins is a miracle!!).  There is new life in Christ.  While the crosses were baking, Mark asked, "is the oven supposed to be on?"  I answered, "yes."  He then said, "it smells like you are cooking plastic."  I said, "well . . .you are almost right!!"

Anyway . . .I always think that when I hear a good Sunday School lesson or a good sermon and I think about it all week . . .it has really permeated my heart and mind and soul.  I can't get this Sunday School lesson off my mind.  What is the clay that I need to dig through to get to Jesus?  Jesus is already there and waiting for me.  What is the clay in your life?

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