Monday, February 13, 2017

"Jesus Pushes Back"

Leviticus 13.45-46 NIV

“The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.”

Loneliness is emotional leprosy. Somewhere in the past, lonely people came to believe they did not have what it takes to attract and keep friends. The erroneous belief evolved into a sturdier reality with each lost relationship opportunity. Another layer of confidence was eroded with each passing day of solitude. Their attire, expressions, and posture adapted to an inner conviction of their own un-lovable-ness. The chronically lonesome learned to scream in silence, “Unclean! Unclean!” and consistently repelled the people they could have loved.

Lonely people conclude they “must live alone.” They resign themselves to “live outside the camp” of happy social interaction. They expect nothing from others and develop an acute sense of abandonment. If you try to love them, they push you away. If you try to help them, they will recite for you their mantra: “It’s too late now,” and you will tend to agree. Their years turn into decades. The pattern of withdrawal deepens as the cycle of isolation worsens. They die old and alone and lonely. Paul and John wrote a song about it 50 years ago.

Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name.
Nobody came.

Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave. No one was saved.

All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong? [1]

When Jesus encountered Simon Peter by the Lake of Gennesaret, He performed a miracle which demonstrated His deity and proved His love. Peter betrayed feelings of fear and isolation. He knew the leprosy of his own soul. Peter tried to push Jesus away.

“Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
Luke 5.8 NIV

But Jesus pushed back.

“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”
Luke 5.10 NIV

Jesus is hope for “all the lonely people.” He heals the leprosy of soul. He fills all the lonely places with divine power and love. He offers purpose for life and a reason to re-join the human race. Jesus pushes back.

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[1] “Eleanor Rigby” from Revolver by the Beatles, 1966.

The pastel at upper right entitled "Eleanor Rigby" is by musician and artist Mary Ann Farley whose work you can view and purchase at http://maryannfarley.com/. It is used here with Mary Ann's permission.

3 comments:

maffy said...

Dave--

How flattering that you chose my picture for this post. And how interesting that you've crossed my path.

I suffer with a chronic pain condition (accompanied now by addiction) that has profoundly shattered my faith in any loving creator.

I, too, have a blog, and mine details this chronic pain journey. Here's a post that you might be interested in:
http://maryannfarley.blogspot.com/2008/05/wager-anyone.html.

While I've made great strides in the past year in accepting my pain, having become far less bitter and using my struggles to help others (mainly with the blog),I have to wonder about Jesus or anyone else helping us out. I don't say that to be challenging but to get your take on it.

I'll check back in to hear your thoughts, and again, thank you for such lovely compliments.

Mary Ann Farley

Dave Scriven said...

Hi Mary Ann,

Thank you for your response. I both appreciate your kindness in allowing me to display your artwork and your honesty in sharing your journey with my readers and me. I will gladly read your post at http://maryannfarley.blogspot.com/2008/05/wager-anyone.html and place a comment.

Your Friend,
Dave Scriven

maffy said...

Dave--

What compassionate posts on my blog. Thank you. Your faith is so strong that I wondered how you would react to my doubt and pain; there've been some who've certainly said strange, even cruel (unintentional as it may have been) things regarding God, but your words were nothing but loving.

Recently, I posted an entry about certain "paranormal" things that have happened to me, that do indeed give me evidence that something else is at work in my life.

http://maryannfarley.blogspot.com/2009/01/ghost-stories.html

I know that faith is supposed to be something we hold, even without evidence, but I don't see anything wrong with looking at the facts. I'm one of those who actually sees God in science, in nature, in the everyday. When I look closely at a leaf or at the face of my little niece, I'm filled with wonder. I mean, what is LOVE, for goodness sakes? I would die for my CAT. What's THAT about? :)

I'm subscribing here to your blog, too, as I suspect there will be some meaningful exchanges here.

I'm glad I discovered you!

Mary Ann