Background on Declaration: The last poem that I wrote was entitled, “Sin”, and it can be found here. Today’s poem, “Declaration”, makes one take time to think about events that occurred leading up to the death of Jesus, as he hung on the cross.
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
Last week’s podcast was Episode 9: The Never-ending Shame Cycle. You can find that podcast episode here. This week’s podcast isEpisode 10: Pick up Your Mat and Walk. Are you sick and tired of not being healed? Do you feel like you have been laying down forever? Then this podcast is for you.
Outline of Podcast: Pick up your mat and walk!
Story of Man at the Pool of Bethesda
Deeper Meaning of Jesus’ Question
What Mat are You Carrying?
How To Get Up
Do You Want to Be Made Well?
Scripture Verses to Meditate On
John 5: 1-14
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda, and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”
12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
How many of you have ever been given the title, “The Biggest Loser”? Well, unfortunately I hadn’t either until I played Bunco this weekend with a group of ladies. A few days leading up to Bunco night had been filled with grief and trauma symptoms. So, when I received a text from a friend inviting me to go to Bunco night, since they were in need of an additional two ladies, I hopped on board.
My eyes honed in on the words”filled with laughter” in the text. After listening to the pitter patter of the rain, and having an emotional Saturday, I knew that Bunco was calling my name. I got a chance to play with ten other women, who, like myself, were needing a break. As God would have it, I knew one of them.
The game got pretty intense, and surprisingly, I couldn’t seem to leave the Losers’ Table. Finally, after eight losses, I moved to the Winners’ Table, and I stayed there the rest of the evening. Although I made it to the Winners’ Table, it wasn’t soon enough. Before you knew it, the game was over, and I was given the title “The Biggest Loser”.
At first, I was a little sad that it was my worst ever Bunco score. That was short-lived because I soon found out that the “Biggest Loser” was actually the “Biggest Winner” in my book. The “Biggest Loser” was celebrated just as much, if not even more than the winner in my opinion. I received a sandalwood and amber candle, shea butter hand cream, and foaming hand soap. I smiled to myself, and I told God that he had a sense of humor.
In Luke 15, the Pharisees and teachers of the law were fussing and complaining because Jesus welcomed the tax collectors and sinners who came to hear him speak. This is the parable that Jesus told them, “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shouldersand goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15: 4-7)
That night, I was the little sheep. The ladies had joyfully placed me on their shoulders and celebrated my loss.