We are waiting this morning for the roofers who will put a new roof on one of the buildings on our property. Having assisted in that process on a small roof many years ago, I know it is a job that takes a lot of strength. It’s easier if all that is required is a new layer of shingles but sometimes it means prying off the old roof in its entirety, then replacing the plywood, tar paper, weather shield and shingles – not to mention carrying all those supplies up a ladder! Of course, needs for this process depend on the climate, era and resources of the area about which one is speaking, but the climbing is always a factor no matter the other considerations.
I’m thinking of that because of the gospel reading for this morning from Luke 5:17-26. Obviously, times and customs have changed significantly so that the situation was not surprising, but the players in this brief drama were certainly creative! There was such a crowd listening to the teaching of Jesus that day that some men who had brought a paralytic on a stretcher to be healed couldn’t even get close to the inside of the building to present him to Jesus for the healing. In the best tradition of “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. (vs. 19) As a result – because of their faith (and I would say their creative response to a necessity!) – the man was healed.
We are not all equally creative but sometimes we’re called to think quite far outside the box we’re in to find a solution when we can’t see an easy way out. Sometimes the risk is great but the reward of stepping out can be worth taking. And, as in this morning’s gospel, sometimes that risk is on behalf of someone else. Are we willing to step out in faith for the benefit of our neighbor? When is the last time you “climbed a ladder” for a better view of possibility?