…in my weakness

see Soulwork Toward Sunday: self -guided retreat
Epiphany 5 (year B)
“she rises and serves”

Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law, Byzantine mosaic, Chora Museum, Turkey

…but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  -2 Corinthians 12:9

It is in my weakness that God finds me and transforms me. Perhaps because in weakness I’m vulnerable enough to make room for God. Life is beautiful and exciting and interesting and I’m ambitious and curious and reckless.* But every tragedy I’ve survived (I haven’t survived them all, parts of me lie dead with grief, no resurrection stirring yet)  – every tragedy has given me a gift.

God didn’t cause my griefs. I caused most of them,  co-created them, and naively set myself up for them. Some griefs come simply with the aching beauty of life and some from genetic randomness.  God didn’t cause Peter’s mother-in-law’s illness. My guess is that she was up a bunch of nights with a passel of Peter’s sick children (HE wasn’t around to help, obviously) compromising her immune system. Or maybe something serious settled into her bones.

But something more than healing occurs when Jesus “grasps” her. The word used is the same as the word for Jesus’ resurrection – he “raises her up”. She embodies the Easter mystery of resurrection and the Pentecost mystery of apostleship – of service. Her home, 2,000 years later, is the site of documented healings. She’s a mother of the church. A deacon. A template of holiness.

Had she not been sick, she probably would have served Peter’s friends in any case. But the transformation makes her a full participant in Jesus’ ministry and ongoing mystery of the church. Her weakness becomes her strength, just as my weaknesses continue to create a meeting place for my recurringly impoverished soul and infinite, Divine Love.

* I don’t think any of my friends would call me “reckless”, exactly. But in retrospect I think some of the most “sane,” “expected,”and conventional decisions I’ve made in my life have been rather reckless, quite honestly.

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