Psalm of Praise: Psalms 30:4-5
Sing praise to the Lord, all his faithful people!
Remember what the Holy One has done, and give him thanks!
His anger lasts only a moment, his goodness for a lifetime.
Tears may flow in the night, but joy comes in the morning.
Bible Reading: John 5:2-9
Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda
and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.
Here a great number of disabled people used to lie; the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.
One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"
"Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred.
While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk."
At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
Political correctness makes me nervous. The accepted terminology for many situations seems to keep changing, and I fear I will offend someone by unwittingly using the wrong words in a conversation. That said, I think the term ‘Accessible Toilet’ makes a lot more sense than ‘Disabled Toilet’! Having had a daughter who required a wheelchair during her illness and now a mother-in-law who requires a wheelchair to get about outside, I am also very grateful for all that is done to help the less able remain part of the wider community.
Accessibility was an issue for the man who had been disabled for thirty-eight years. The waters in the pool were thought to have healing qualities at certain times but he was excluded because he was unable to get there in time.
I wonder who the people are today who feel excluded. They may not be physically disabled, but they could be excluded for many other invisible reasons. Can I do something today to include someone who is excluded?
Jesus asked the man in the bible if he wanted to get well. That may seem a strange question to ask, but after thirty-eight years he may have settled into a routine and a support network and might struggle to adapt to a new way of life. Sometimes we too put up with things that are less than the best because it is too complicated to change them. It may be a health issue: physical, emotional or spiritual, it may be a relationship issue or it may be a work issue.
Like the disabled man, there may be many reasons why our situation hasn’t improved, but whatever they are, Jesus says to each of us, ‘Do you want to get well?’ And if our answer is ‘Yes’, he will say, ‘Get up, pick up your mat and walk’. Our God is the God of hope and of healing.
God of hope and healing,
Restore the lives of all who feel excluded today.
You have shown me favour unending (I give thanks)