God in the Machine

Literally "God in the machine", Deus Ex Machina originally referred to Greek plays, where the "gods" would be lowered onto the stage with ropes in order to provide a quick resolution to the story. Today, Deus Ex Machina refers to any improbably and/or overly convenient character or mechanism that comes out of nowhere and saves the character(s).

Name:

"I don't get it, Big Dan..." -George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Because of who Jesus is

Quick hit.. I need a break from all the politics. You non-religious types feel free to skip this one if you want.

The sermon today came from John 5:1-16, the famous story of the pool near Beth-Zatha that would be "agitated" when an angel passed by and you could hop in the water and be healed, presumably if you were the first one in.

The story's central character had been by the pool for 38 years, invalid. Jesus came by and asked him if he wanted to be healed. "Do you want to be healed?" is the question that launched a thousand sermons, but today we concentrated on the man himself.

Soon after the healing he couldn't remember who healed him. Later, he fingered Jesus for healing on the sabbath. Hardly a hero of the faith, this guy.

I took the cue from Fred Craddock and concluded that the man was healed, not because he was deserving or had faith, not because of who HE was, but because of who JESUS was.

Why does it matter? Because we all have categories of "deserving poor/truly needy" and "undeserving poor." At the church we tend not to help those who constantly call for help, writing them off as leeches or scam artists.

We give to some charities but not others. We avoid the dirty poor, or those who differ from our ideas and pre-conceived notions of how those we choose to help should act. In short, we don't help those who don't deserve it.

Thank God we're not required to DESERVE it in God's eyes. Thank God it's not based on who I am. Before we start mocking the poor, the mentally unhealthy, minorities, on and on, maybe we should remember we're in the same boat they are.

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