A re-telling of Luke 5:17-26 Even though the house was already crowded, when the elders arrived, they were given front row seats, where the teacher was telling curious stories about seeds and banquets and quarreling brothers. A Pharisee was posing a convoluted question when falling debris gave them just enough warning to avoid the chunk of ceiling that barely missed Jesus himself. The dust cleared to reveal a makeshift pallet lowering by ropes, tipping and wobbling, its passenger trembling and wide-eyed, wincing when he landed with a thump. The teacher laid a calming hand on his shoulder and then smiled up at his friends, whose chutzpah left a ragged gap in the ceiling. Simon was heard murmuring his prediction: another healing! But Jesus looked deeply and thoughtfully at the man and said, “My friend, be assured, your sins no longer have the power to cripple your spirit.” The elders immediately exercised their veto power, with force. Jesus’ thoughtful gaze turned on them. A pause. “Please trust me. I know the deepest truth and it is this: paralysis of the limbs is nothing compared to the paralyzing effects of a rebellious heart. So that you will know this too, watch this man walk home with healthy legs and an unburdened heart.” Sure enough, the man stood, tentative, took a few shaky steps and left differently than he came, light on his feet, his pallet of shame left behind in a pile of dusty, broken-down dogma.
And a poem had to be written too! Look Out Below The heavens were opened when the Dove-Spirit surprised Jesus with her wings of light. He looked up every so often after that, just in case. But what opened one day to his surprise was the ceiling, breaking apart, raining debris on everyone. No dove, only a trembling man on a wobbly pallet. Despite the elders’ protests, Spirit tuned him in to the fractured heart of a broken man. Not many of the crowds who came to him were so easy to read, but the shame had etched its lines on this man’s face long ago. Such sadness needed its cure and so he did, touching the heart with a refreshing wash of absolution, and stroking life back into the shriveled limbs for good measure. The teacher couldn’t resist checking the reactions of the men gazing down. He did a double take when their glad faces seemed to flicker and gleam, and he felt a familiar flutter stirring the air just above his head.