Historical setting: 602 C.E. On the road to Luxeuil
When the crowd opens a little the underside of a mass of pilgrims is revealed. Here are the sick and the lame crawling along among the feet of the gathered, just for a touch of a healing hem; [Luke 8:43-48] and here is one carried in a tarp by loyal friends, as was the man who was let through the roof of the house where Jesus was teaching. [Luke 5:17-26].
Gabe is transfixed. “They are hurt and in pain, aren’t they?”
I answer, “Some of these pilgrims have come great distances on nothing but a little thread of trust that they will find healing here.”
“So we should pray for their healing?” suggests Greg.
“Just like magical power?” I ask, “Is it just for God to do?”
Greg suggests, “If we pray for them, what if God answers and tells us to help them. How could we ever have time for that?”
“God isn’t much concerned with taking up our time. If we know what must be done, we can’t ignore it.”
“So is it prayer, or God, or us answering God that can stop these hurts?” Greg is sorting through this concern.
The push of humanity eddies to fill the wake left by the noble horses. A man leaning heavily on his walking stick is knocked over, facedown on the earth right in front of us. Immediately the prayer to help this man is answered with Greg’s and Gabe’s own compassion. These sons of the healer, Ana, rush to his aid. Greg tends to his bleeding lip, and Gabe examines the knee that the man claims is his pain.
Kneeling here to help, below the oblivion of self-interest, and just above the grovel of need, in the middle of it all is the full humanity of compassion. There are so many kneeling here to offer help. We aren’t alone in caring. Thank you God.
But now this broken fellow becomes our concern. Gabe and Greg are caught up in the compassion spreading throughout. Gabe says this man can’t walk just now, but I could easily carry him on my back.
The man argues, “Just give me my walking stick to lean on. I’ve come this far and now I’m nearly to the healing waters.”
These boys lift him onto my back and now he isn’t arguing with us, he is simply grateful.