Daily Devotional for July 18
July 18 Mark 2:1-12
A young clergyperson, returning to his pulpit in Chicago after
having undergone heart by-pass surgery, recounted his exper-
iences of anxiety, fear, doubt, and pain. He wished, he told
his congregation, that he could report some story of personal
heroic faith, some uncommon valor in his struggle. But there
had been no such story. He told, rather, of very special "litter-
bearers" - persons who, seeing his condition and express-
ing their kindness in words, deeds, and prayers, had carried
his fragile body in faith from his place of need into the lov-
ing, healing presence of God.
The Gospel likewise pays tribute to litter-bearers in today's
passage. It was when Jesus saw their faith that he healed the
paralytic. Black saints used to speak of "making a way out of
no way." These four, climbing to the roof and actually remov-
ing the tiles (!), made a way out of no way to place their friend
The onlookers were more concerned with the form than the
substance of what happened. They were concerned with flash;
Jesus was concerned with faith. They were concerned with
authority and right order; Jesus was committed to love and
the relieving of human suffering. Here before all to see, Jesus
demonstrated the power of divine love to forgive sins, heal
broken bodies, and honor human faith and trust. In the face
of such great love, the people's disbelief turned to amazement
and praise: "We never saw anything like this!" they exclaimed.
It is as if we are all constantly amazed at Christ's power to
There are times in our lives when we, like the paralytic and
like the young clergyperson, have no great faith, no uncom-
mon valor, no more strength, and no way to get to Christ.
At such times God has a way of sending "litter-bearers" into
our lives, people whose faith, valor, and strength "make a way
out of no way" so that Christ may heal us. Then, if we listen,
we will hear the voice of Christ saying to us not only "Your
sins are forgiven," but also "Rise, take up your pallet and
¹Copyright @ 1979 by William M. James. Used by permission.
From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle
Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.