Via Transformativa: Practical Magic — Magic of Imperfection

By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

In our Jesus story (Mark 3:1-6), we find our guy in a synagogue on the Sabbath, which isn’t all that odd for a Jew, but he’s not alone. He’s being closely watched by the Pharisees who are just waiting for Jesus to break some Jewish laws so they can have him arrested and stop being such a pain in their self-righteous butts.

They have already accused him and his disciples of working on the Sabbath when, earlier in this passage, they plucked some grains from a field to eat on their way to the synagogue, so when a man with a withered hand approached him at the synagogue, they were sure Jesus would heal the man — which would be work — and they’d have all the evidence they needed.

What Jesus did provides us with the fourth step we need in our journey to overcome ego … and it’s the hardest one for we poor ego-holics to understand, so let’s spend a few minutes in the synagogue with Jesus before we lay out that fourth step.

Jesus knew the Pharisees were waiting for him to slip up, but Jesus wasn’t there to give them what they wanted. He was there to show this crippled man, and us, the amazing amount of power we already have if we’ll just give up our addiction to ego.

Jesus looks at the man with the withered hand and says: “Come forward.” As the man stands up, Jesus gives another command: “Stretch out your hand.” As he stretched out his hand … he was healed.

This is the most revolutionary moment in Jesus’ ministry and it goes unnoticed by the mainstream church to this day. Preachers teaching from this text in other communities this morning are telling their congregations about how Jesus healed this man, but Jesus never touches him. Jesus did not heal this man at all … the man healed himself.

Step Four: Claim your power.

You do that by arising — by standing up — and stretching out your hand. The Greek word for “hand” here doesn’t mean the appendage at the end of your arm. Instead, the word used here connotes the very power that God has to create the universe and determine destinies. Jesus, in this story of healing, is telling us we have that power within us … our “hand,” this very fragile part of our ever more fragile body, has the power to create universes and set the destiny of mankind.

It is in this moment that Jesus shows us that the kingdom within us all provides all the power we will ever need or want.

What this story reveals is that we don’t need a physical Jesus to be healed. In fact, we don’t need any holy person or religion to step into our Christ consciousness. We simply must be willing to take bold, if imperfect, action to step into our power. This man in the synagogue didn’t stretch out a hand of perfection. He stretched out a boney, withered, ugly and imperfect hand. The message is clear: We must act boldly even in our imperfection.

Jesus is telling people of his time, and us today, that we don’t need churches or preachers or religious rituals and other holy hoohah to connect to God. The Holy is available at all times and is only a shift in perception away. If we all really understood that — there’d be no need for religion — no need for greed or hunger — we would indeed be a brother and sisterhood of human kind.

This is the true gospel, Jubliants — the true good news — you can step into your power — your true divine power — without any help from outside institutions.

All you gotta do is stand up and reach out into the world with your imperfect love and compassion.

Breathe deeply.

Check out all five steps to becoming a recovering “ego-holic” by downloading a PDF of this week’s sermon.

Also, the podcast this week includes two amazing songs from Asheville-based singer and songwriter Jeff Thompson.

Listen to this week’s podcast.

Listen to past podcasts.

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