In a sense, same story, second verse: Jesus – Sabbath - Pharisees. There was a man in the synagogue whose hand was all wrong, shrunken, small. The Pharisees couldn’t have planned it better if they had tried. They were almost giddy.
Jesus invited the man to come stand smack dab in the middle of the room. Jesus took a breath and squared his shoulders: Alright. It comes down to this – is the Sabbath about life or death? It was as if the very air in the room held its breath.
Jesus started spinning round and round, eyeballing the crowd for answers. With each whirl his face darkened, crimson. Their cowardly, withered hearts were simply unbelievable. He finally stopped and focused on the man: Give me your hand. The man reached and all that was wrong became right, just like that.
The Pharisees ran from the room with evidence that demanded a verdict. They usually couldn’t stand Herod’s followers but misery needs company, so they all huddled together around a flame of common desire – destroy him.
It was one of those things about him, his love of the sea, as if the water’s edge was a soft place for Jesus to fall. He had to get away so he went there with his disciples. But shadows followed – scores of people from here and there, near and far, all wanting one thing - him.
Jesus was gentle but shrewd. He told his disciples to have a boat ready in case the people rushed him. There were so many people. It was like they came in waves, roiling toward Jesus. On that day their needs outweighed his. He healed a great many of them, one at a time. As usual, evil was there; the darkness around is always deep. The spirits couldn’t even stand the sight of him: You’re the one! The Son of God!
Jesus hissed back: That’s enough! Not another word!
*The farther along I go, the looser this gets. I want to stay tethered to scripture but not bound by it – make sense? The spirit-but-not-the-letter kind of thing.
Two things – I was struck by how much Jesus seemed to love the sea. He so loved the world, but one of his favorites was the shoreline. I wondered what some of his other affections were – did he love the taste of fish? The smell of bread? Dusk? Who knows?
And I finished off with Jesus hissing at the spirits. He was dove-gentle but also serpent-wise, as we are challenged to be…serpents hiss don’t they??