Monday, August 4, 2014

Unclean: This My Disease - Mark 1:40-45 Post 1

Chalkboard: Mark 1:40-45 Post 1
In a way it's easier for me to understand the significance for the blind man or the deaf man, for the woman with an issue of blood, than for the leper. (Mark 1:40-45)  I can imagine what it would be like not to see, what it would be like not to hear...and I WAS the woman with an issue of blood.  

But being blind or deaf or paralyzed didn't make
someone unclean like having leprosy did.  An issue of blood made one unclean, but we don't do "unclean" today - Although we do have quarantine for dangerous diseases.  

So I don't fully understand what it meant to be unclean. 

What it meant was that friends and family couldn't be around, for fear that they would become unclean as well.

In most situations it was temporary.  After a certain amount of time the unclean one would go to the priest, make the proper sacrifices, and be restored.  Restored to relationships, to his/her life, to family, friends, etc.  They would be clean again.

For the leper it was not temporary, but pretty much permanent.  There wasn't much hope for restoration, for healing, for being clean again.  

A dead person was unclean.  And a leper was practically a dead person. 

When I try to imagine that, I feel panic.  Loneliness - despair.  I can't really go there.  I think I could deal with the actual disease more easily than I could deal with the separation, being cut off, being unclean. 

And when the leper comes to You, he doesn't say, "make my skin clear and new," or "please restore feeling in my fingers," or "please replace these limbs that have been damaged because of the loss of feeling."  He doesn't actually SAY, "Please heal my leprosy."

He says, "You can make me clean."

He wanted to be clean.

We walked with You once in a beautiful garden.  Before the fall.  Before we were stricken with this blot, with this disease.  

Now we are separated.  Isolated.  In our own leper colony, as it were.  Cut off even from each other.

We are unclean.  I am unclean.  Cut off from others - but worse, I am cut off from You.  

The leper humbled himself before You, got on his knees and begged:
"You can make me clean."  

Often I come to You with the minor complaints of the consequences of this disease, but the most serious and devastating consequence is that this my disease separates me from You

And there really isn't much hope for restoration, for healing, for being clean again,
and the leper is saying,
"I could live with everything else - if You would just fix this,"

and I can imagine it, after all.  I can imagine the separation of being unclean because I do know a little bit what it's like.   That's why I can't go there.   

But I don't have to.  Not because I can make myself clean, I can't, but...

"If You are willing, You can make me clean." 

And that's why You came (Mark 1:35-39).

"I am willing," You said, "be clean."


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