So, once more, here is a draft of tomorrow’s sermon for Yuba City:
Easter 6 C
I’m going to throw you a curve this morning, and use the alternate gospel reading for this Sunday. Not only that, as allowed by canon, I’m going to preach on a slightly longer text than is specified. We are always allowed to expand the reading, and I’m doing it so that you hear the whole story. Don’t worry, it’s not that long!
When the story starts, Jesus has gone up to Jerusalem, to attend a religious festival. When he arrives, near the Sheep Gate, which may have been how he entered the city, he passes a pool of water, around which are gathered all kinds of invalids.
Why are they gathered there? If you look at the copy of the gospel I passed out at the beginning of the service, you will see a bold footnote, number 1, just before verse 5. — Did you notice that our reading had no verse 4? What the footnote tells us is that the best and earliest sources did not have a verse 4. But other sources had, wholly or in part, an explanation: they were waiting for the stirring of the water, because when an angel stirred the water, the first one in would be healed.
One man had been waiting by the side of the pool, receiving charity from the faithful for his livelihood, for thirty-eight years. I’m thinking he had become comfortable and complacent in his disability. And I’m thinking Jesus thought so too.
Recognizing that the sick man had been there a long time, Jesus asks him, “Do you want to be made well?”
You would think the obvious answer to this question is, “Yes! Yes! Please God heal me.” (more…)