The Church as the man with palsy

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Roy
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The Church as the man with palsy

Post by Roy » 16 Feb 2015, 10:53

I was in SS listening to the lesson about Jesus healing the man with Palsy. One brother mentioned this recent talk by brother Wong and talked about how the friends had to work together in balance in order to lower the man without dumping him. If any of the friends lowered too fast the bed would have capsized. Perhaps because of the recent events with Bro. Dehlin, I started thinking of the man with palsy as the church and how sometimes church activists may be pushing the church in the right direction but it is too fast or too radical for the rest of the church to keep up. I looked up the talk that the brother in my class was referring to:
At the crucial moment, it would take careful coordination to lower the man with palsy from the roof. The four people would have to work in unity and in harmony. There could not be any discord among the four. They would have to lower the man with palsy at the same pace. If someone released the rope faster than the other three, the man would fall out of his bed. He could not hold on by himself due to his weakened condition.

In order to assist the Savior, we have to work together in unity and in harmony. Everyone, every position, and every calling is important. We have to be united in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Finally, the sick, palsied man was laid before Jesus. “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mark 2:5). Jesus showed mercy on him and healed him—not only physically but also spiritually: “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” Isn’t that wonderful? Wouldn’t we like that to happen to all of us too? Certainly I would.
In some ways each of us individually and collectively can represent the friends that are lowering the church down to Christ inch by inch. In some ways each of us individually and collectively can represent the palsied man in a precarious position. We could be toppled over if the bed shifts too dramatically in a certain direction.

The ultimate goal is to present ourselves before the Savior. When we arrive and He sees the collective mess of our good intentions and best laid plans, I hope He is moved with compassion on our behalf. I hope that He forgives our sins (individual, collective, and organizational) and makes us whole.

Some possible additional takeaways:

1) My job is not to fix the church. That is the Savior's job. My job as a worker is to lower my rope in more or less balance with the other workers. (and maybe encourage the other workers to get on with it. ;) )
2) Celebrate small steps in the right direction.
3) Make room for as many as possible and recognize that the journey will not always be comfortable. We are stuck together in a litter precariously suspended from a cieling by a group of well meaning individuals AND we are prone to spasms. Patience and forgiveness are in order.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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LookingHard
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Re: The Church as the man with palsy

Post by LookingHard » 16 Feb 2015, 12:16

Wonderful thought. I do think keeping that in mind will help me.

But I do wonder about those that really are hurt by things at church.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: The Church as the man with palsy

Post by Curt Sunshine » 16 Feb 2015, 12:48

Wonderful insight. I never would have thought of that on my own.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

nibbler
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Re: The Church as the man with palsy

Post by nibbler » 16 Feb 2015, 14:24

Cool. :thumbup:

Ann
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Re: The Church as the man with palsy

Post by Ann » 17 Feb 2015, 23:13

Thanks for posting this beautiful thought. I'm elsewhere during 2nd hour now and I miss hearing the discussion.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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LDS_Scoutmaster
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Re: The Church as the man with palsy

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 18 Feb 2015, 09:11

Thanks that was some good insight Roy. I don't see myself fixing the Church either, I talk of changing it from the inside but this is a way of coping with things I know I probably have very little overall effect on. It's a melting pot of imperfection from the top to the bottom, with a caveat that there are many people who are way more spiritual than I am and some that like me, have a long way to go.
LookingHard wrote:
But I do wonder about those that really are hurt by things at church.
I remember on my mission a woman coming out of the RS class in tears, she had said how difficult it was to love a particular neighbor, the instructor gave an example of being extra charitable and said something like "perhaps that is something you could apply in your situation". On the surface I didn't get what upset the sister so much, I understand more now that 1. She was looking for some shared compassion and understanding. 2. She probably had been trying to be more charitable and felt that the comment was saying that no one thought she was already being charitable.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6311&start=70#p121051 My last talk

We are all imperfect beings, dealing with other imperfect beings, and we're doing it imperfectly.

nibbler
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Re: The Church as the man with palsy

Post by nibbler » 18 Feb 2015, 10:18

LDS_Scoutmaster wrote:Thanks that was some good insight Roy. I don't see myself fixing the Church either, I talk of changing it from the inside but this is a way of coping with things I know I probably have very little overall effect on. It's a melting pot of imperfection from the top to the bottom, with a caveat that there are many people who are way more spiritual than I am and some that like me, have a long way to go.
Yeah, I've got no voice in the direction the church takes so my machinations of changing things for the better (which is relative to begin with) aren't going to bear any fruit. In thinking about that I decided to tinker with Roy's analogy:

We approach Christ one on one. It's a personal interaction that is as unique as the individual. No man is an island, it's a community effort but an individual experience nonetheless. In my tinkered analogy the role of the man with palsy is any struggling individual and the people working the ropes are the church, the church as a collection of saints, not as an entity.

I likely don't have a voice at all, even in my small quorum, but I choose to remain. Not to influence the group but perhaps my more nuanced faith has placed me in a position where I can help to provide balance for the person with palsy that is being lowered to Christ.

Some leaders might teach a more formulaic approach to lowering the man with palsy. If we all do it this exact way at this exact rate then the bed we're lowering will never lose balance. Don't deviate from the plan, this is how it works. It does work... on paper. Some people might be more physically or mentally able to follow the plan than others and most people lowering the bed don't have any experience at all.

There needs to be a few people that are willing to give the rope some slack or to pull up a bit harder than the plan calls for in order to maintain the balance. They might get yelled at by the bed lowering supervisor or they may even be excluded from the next bed lowering event but they still play a vital role.

I'd like to be in a position to reach out to people struggling to be healed by Christ in ways that perhaps the more mainstream approach has failed to reach. Some people are going to give me the stink eye in filling that role because all they see is someone not sticking to the tried and true plan, I'm only screwing it up for everyone. They may not be able to recognize that many beds were successfully lowered because some people were able to make necessary adjustments in secret. Besides, when we get outside the norms it can be extremely difficult to tell the difference between someone doing their best to maintain balance and someone intentionally rocking the boat.

So any influence is at the micro level. Limited to the current bed lowering only.

Oops. I think that's just the traditional interpretation of that story.

It can be a thankless job. When you aren't lowering the rope at the exact prescribed rate that everyone else is supposed to be lowering the rope you'll probably hear that you are lowering the bed too slow from some and too fast from others. If a person successfully makes their journey I suppose it's worth it to be on a rope and subject yourself to a bit of that.

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