And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.” – Luke 5:19 NKJV
Come, imagine with me!
What would it feel like in a crowded room, really crowded? That’s not hard to imagine. I recall the sensations of not having enough space, of being hot, and a little bit scared with too many people taking up the space.
What does Jesus look like? That’s always hard. There is something in me that wants to get that right and imagine Jesus as the Jew he was. But I have a friend who re-imagines Jesus in today’s images.
Who might attract as much resistance as Jesus did in some of these stories?
The image of a young guy in a hoodie comes to mind.
I resist this.
But …. then again, maybe.
Imagine the crowd listening intently to Hoodie-One speaking, the One they crowded in to hear. I people-watch. I see faces, some thin with longing, or eyes smouldering in anger, lined with pain perhaps, or beaming in recognition. We all need something, long for something, wait for something.
They are so intent on listening for what they needed, I was the only one hearing the scrapping above.
(Ok, I got a little side-tracked wondering what houses in Jesus’ day looked like, but historical details aren’t important in practicing active imagination, so I gave myself a picture and decided to look up details later.)
Anyway, there was this scrapping, then some dust. A few people made for the door, but most just look annoyed. Then there is a skylight, and four guys lower their friend down. Right in front of Jesus.
Jesus laughs out loud. I like his laugh and it makes my heart smile too. I like his laughing eyes as he reaches out a hand to paralyzed guy and lifts him up.
I feel his laughing eyes on me and I am lifted. I don’t want to leave this crowded house.
My heart warms inside this story.
And that’s all.
Well, not quite. Two things:
Everyone can break open scripture and find themselves in a story.
And two, Jesus is not just back then.
Gospel contemplation is a practice where active imagination
brings us close to Jesus, God-with-us.