Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Carriers and The Carried

In Mark’s gospel we read the story of four friends carrying their paralytic comrade to Jesus.  They encounter a crowd blocking the way, but this does not deter them.  They climb up on the roof, cut a hole, and lower their friend down into the presence of Jesus.  Jesus was impressed with the carriers, especially with their bold engineering feat of cutting through the roof.  Jesus admires their determination and implies that these four friends are made of the kind of stuff that makes things happen.  Jesus also dealt kindly with the one who was carried.

Carriers do make things happen and fortunately we have all been carried.  We were carried in our mother’s womb totally dependent on our mother carrying us safely.  When we could do nothing on our own, we were nurtured and carried by those who fed us, dressed us, and watched over us.  When we could not walk, we were carried in loving arms.  When we went off to school, unable to read or write, we were carried by a teacher who taught us and inspirited us with a sense of self-worth.  Through the years of our growing up, many carried us.  A thousand impersonal forces about which we could do little—carried us.  We have been carried by many friends, circumstances, and events all through our years—a friend who prayed for us (who carried us and we did not know it), a stranger who helped us, a friend who stood by us, an event that lifted us—we have all been carried.  The idea that somehow we have carried ourselves to where we are and to what we have achieved is sheer nonsense.  All of us have been carried.

That we have been carried, are carried  and will be carried, becomes crystal clear as we become older and are no longer able to drive on our own, or walk on our own, or go to the doctor’s office, or to the grocery store.  No one wants to be dependent on somebody else, but the truth is that we are, have been, and will always be.  We are Aeneas who carried his aged father on his back from the ruins of Troy, and we are his father and we ought to be both at the same time.

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