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HYMN FOR EASTER 6 By the Splashing Water

Text: Gracia Grindal Tune James E. Clemmens By the splashing water I sat all alone. No one came to help me Clamber down the stone. Where the pool would heal me, Body, mind and soul. So that I could rise up Fully healed and whole. Then I met a healer Telling me to rise; Rise, take up your pallet Rise, be whole, he cried. I stood up and started Walking down the street All the city saw me Walk upon my feet. In the bright spring morning, Jesus gave me health. After he had found me, I received his wealth. Morning broke around me, Fille my heart with dawn, In my flesh God’s glory Filled me like the sun. Dear friends, do not doubt it, Hear this sparkling Word: This man we call Jesus Is our God and Lord. He came from his Father Here to give us light, Shine against the darkness, Chase away the night. REFLECTIONS
Jesus makes the slight suggestion in this Scripture that the man who had been sitting there so many years doesn’t really want to be healed. The man’s answer tends to say that is true; he blames his not being healed on the failure of others to help him. Jesus has more to heal than the man’s infirmities. He needs to change his heart, his whole being. Rise up, take your pallet and go. He doesn’t even get him into the water. He simply commands, Rise up, take your pallet and walk. And he does! The man doesn’t know who it was that healed him but will later find out when Jesus meets him in the temple. The religious authorities do not like that this has been done on the sabbath. After that the man testifies to the one who had healed him. This account is rich in human understanding. Jesus is right to wonder if the man even wants to be healed. After thirty-eight years he may have grown accustomed to his place. He can lie there suffering, blaming it on others and not really reflect on his own failures. It is easy when you are sick to pull into yourself and think only of your needs. It is almost a necessity. And we must be clear, this man was totally dependent on others for everything—food, clothing, cleansing, movement anywhere. He had obviously found those who would help him. Maybe the routine had become his comfort. Finally, it becomes such a habit that the idea of being utterly healed and changed would seem, oddly, like a loss. In a way, the man has made an idol of his infirmities. I can understand not wanting to change. We get set in our ways, and our personalities and moods are kind of what they are. They make us who we are. We know the character who always sees the worst in everything and for him or her to be utterly changed would be a miracle. Maybe that is even more of a miracle than being able to tell the man, Rise up, take your pallet, and walk. We see very little in the account of how the man responded to his healing. He does what he is told--to rise up and walk. Then he goes to the temple where Jesus’ enemies are. When Jesus finds him there, and makes himself known, he then can tell them who his healer is. This leads to an astonishing discourse on the divinity of Jesus. Only God could do this kind of work. Which means Jesus is God. And that is the offense. God could not look like this very ordinary man, one of our own. He should be far up, high and away. While the angel's troubling the water is a scene painters have liked to depict, Jesus does not show his divinity like that. He heals the man with words, simply put and simply followed. God always works through the word. And yet, it is the glory of our faith. Jesus, God’s Son, did come down to be with us and live with us. In his three years of walking the byways of Palestine, he learned who we were. And he knew his mission was to change everything here. Not by making us different, but by giving us hope in the darkest times, hope that makes whatever dark valley we are in today quite different because we have seen the light shining up ahead. It makes everything bearable. In fact, it makes this life in him, like heaven already because we are with the one who came to give us eternal life, heaven. HYMN INFO
When I wrote this hymn based on John 5:1-19. I was taken with the how much change Jesus works in the man and in us when he comes to us with “healing in his wings.” The strong sense of light that he brings was the subject of the last stanza.

HYMN FOR EASTER 6 By the Splashing Water
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