Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Holy Hospital

“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Mark 2:17 NIV

As a Christian, I live in an open air zoo. My little viewing field allows passers by to stop and stare. They watch my every move with fascination just like the monkeys behind their enclosure. Sometimes the people on the other side of an invisible wall jeer, taunt, and tease. Sometimes, they throw things at me to get a reaction so they can go tell all their friends about the exciting visit to the zoo. But the worst is when a fellow monkey wants to fight over little things.

Feeling safe in my little space, I don’t expect to need protection with my own kind. I don’t expect to fight over the little branch where I contentedly rest or how to peel my banana. After all, we’re compatible. That’s why we all are in this same space, right?

Then a hairy arm swipes at my fruit in jealousy and a mouth bares teeth and screeches an unbearable noise demanding to be in command. Some or all of the monkey family charge over to watch the commotion. Fur flies as she bites and claws at me trying to steal the little I have leaving open sores that will scar forever just so she can control me. She wasn’t even hungry. She had a pile of bananas under her own branch.

I want to run and hide. I beg through pleading eyes for respite from my Zookeeper. I want to go to a new safe enclosure away from the mean monkey. He holds me, binds my wounds, and gives me back my banana. But He doesn’t take the bad monkey out of the enclosure. Instead, He approaches the offender with love. I watch with pouting, tearful eyes.

The Zookeeper opens his arms to the nasty, selfish monkey. She leaps into them, grasping and clinging, and drops a little bundle in the process. The tiny body is no longer breathing. He soothes her as He gently picks up and cradles the little lost one.

“She attacked out of confusion and fear,” He explains, “her heart is sick.” It wasn’t evident by the way she looked on the outside and the skill that kept the hurt hidden. “Oh my little gentle soul,” He says, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” He reminds me of one more thing, we are both sick and in need of our Zookeeper’s care.

Do you realize that we are all sick? That as sinners, we aren’t super human? Everyone, even Christians, will make hurtful mistakes towards another. Could you think of your church as a hospital where sick people go for regular treatments rather than a holy place where everyone in it is, da duh daaaa, Super Holy Man?

Dear Lord Jesus,
You are ruler over all. You have the power to heal the sick and wounded. Please help me through the times when other Christians seem to be attacking me. Grant me discernment to see the real issues and see past my own hurts to the core of the hidden problem. I ask for your wonderful wisdom when I am faced with accusations and attacks from those I love and trust. I ask you to relieve the tension and release the hold that past scars have on me. Thank you for being the doctor of our church and relationships. Bring the medicine of your peace into our place of fellowship and worship. Help me to forgive, and offer grace to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for your healing words.
In Jesus Christ name,
Amen.
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