Recovering from the Disease of Sin

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Founder & Teacher,

There is life at Bethlehem. With all our imperfections we have tasted the honey of divine Life and it has made our eyes sparkle. Christ is walking among us. Not because we are so much fun to be with but because he loves to make house calls on patients who glory in his medical expertise. He is not partial to the healthy. But he has a special fondness for the homeliest, weakest, sickliest patients whose eyes sparkle when he enters the room.

Sunday morning worship is when we all wheel ourselves together and shout, “Three cheers for Doctor Jesus!”

Sunday School is when we divide up into groups to make sure we understand his prescriptions.

Sunday evening is when we wheel down to the rec hall and tell stories and sing ballads about what it is like to convalesce from sin.

Wednesday prayer meeting is the group therapy he assigns. He says it’s good for us that he saves some healing to give when we have stirred each other up to send for him with great earnestness. The old infection starts to spread again when we take the Doctor’s presence for granted.

A pastor is a convalescing cripple that the Doctor has assigned to teach others how to use the crutches of grace.

What a motley sanatorium we are! Paralyzed, clubfooted, humpbacked, pockfaced, nearsighted, cancer-eaten! But there is life at Bethlehem! The Doctor’s here! He’ll touch any sore without a flinch. And O, how it soothes. He spends time. He talks. He looks you in the eye. He takes your elbow when you rise. He asks how Jake is doing. He promises he’ll be back. And he comes!

Sometimes he reads from his book about the day when he will finish all his therapy and make us perfect—like him. I can hardly wait. The other day he read me this about his Father’s plans:

And he will destroy on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 25:7, 8)

It made my eyes sparkle. I would have done a back flip like a baby gorilla—if I weren’t crippled. But I did lift my hands. Hallelujah. Three cheers for the Doctor!

Tapping my crutch to a happy tune of hope,

Pastor John