Based on John 5:1-16
God who defies our expectations,
You told the man lying on a mat by the pool of Bethesda to get up, take his mat and walk. The religious and the righteous complained that the Sabbath forbade him from carrying his mat and they didn't see the miracle of healing that happened before their eyes. Holy God who challenges us, this miracle of Jesus shows us the miracle of Jesus upsets the powerful and gives power to those trapped in systems not rooted in your loving liberation. May we too realise our own complicity when we see Your liberating Holy Spirit move through this world and yet we respond with shackling those who You set free, with our own insecurity. Let us be comfortable with a Gospel of Jesus that throws away the comfort of the mat and that does the work of justice and healing when the religion of control says we should not. When the religion of the mat dismisses the cry for justice and empowerment for women. When it is deaf to the black and brown children of God who suffer under systems that crush them. When our trans siblings in Christ want to get off their mats and walk in the freedom of their gender identity only to have laws made against their very personhood. When we try to make peace and give life to Your creation but instead perpetuate environmental degradation that hurts the poorest and the most disadvantaged among us.
We give thanks that You give us new mercy every morning to get up and walk away from our mats. Loving God, it's in Your nature to pull humankind forward to a more loving way each day.
For that we give thanks and may our gratitude lead to constant renewal of the fires which inspire us and which lead Jesus to heal the sick and speak truth to the religion of Empire.
May Jesus be real in our lives today and shake us out of the complacency of the mat which we make comfortable beds in.
And when we leave the comfort of the mat, may we show others the way to the Christ who set us free and who sets us free day after day.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.