"No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main." John Donne
John Donne's wisdom is perhaps even more true today than when it was written in the 16th century. Unless we find a way to see ourselves in relationship to one another as human beings, and for some of us in faith, we risk isolation and violence. Only when we remember how connected we are to one another in the human family, can we avoid treating others as objects blocking our path to pleasure or accomplishment.
Isaiah and Jesus remind us of this truth in today's scriptures. Isaiah insists that God not only forgives, God forgets when he writes, "Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!" (Is 43:18) Despite the unfaithfulness of the Jewish people who have been set free and led to the Promised Land, God promises to put aside their weakness and failures to do "something new."
In a similar way, Jesus, unlike so many times when he acknowledges the faith of those seeking his mercy, celebrates the faith of the four people who carry their friend to Jesus and lower him through the roof. It is the faith of his friends that makes it possible for Jesus to heal the paralytic. No one is an island, Jesus implies. Without the help and faith of friends, especially when we feel lost, broken and alone, we cannot approach Jesus or even remember the foundational truths of our faith. Furthermore, while it is usually easy for us to help others when they are in need, we resist the help of others by often insisting that we are "all right," or "fine," when we are a mess.
Today, take a moment to thank God for those times when the unasked for help of others healed you and set you free.
Can you remember a time when someone else helped you when you were unable to help yourself? Tell others about it.