Yesterday, Brian and I were coming back from lunch. We parked behind the church offices and were walking toward the sidewalk by the playgrounds behind the church. There was a woman standing there on the sidewalk leaning against the playground fence. She appeared to be waiting for a ride. I couldn't help but notice her breathing apparatus, wondering if that is why she was waiting for a ride -- because it would be hard for her to walk to a car.
As we approached her, we both spoke and she cheerfully replied. After we had walked a few steps past her, she called out to us and said, "You know you're saving a lot of lives here, and we appreciate it." It was at that point that I realized she probably attended one of our many 12-step meetings that take place on our JCPC campus every week. You're saving a lot of lives. I remarked to Brian, "Now that's not something you hear every day." And yet that is why we are here. That is why Johns Creek Presbyterian Church exists -- to save lives. In our New Testament, the Greek words for "to save" and "to heal" come from the same root word.
This Sunday we will be looking at a story from Luke's gospel in which Jesus is healing the sick inside of a house. Because there are so many people, a man who has been paralyzed for life and who is brought by his friends to be healed by Jesus cannot get into the house where Jesus was healing. So, his friends take him up on the roof of the house, cut a hole in the roof, and lower the man down on his mat so that Jesus might heal him. Jesus notices the faith of the man's friends who brought him and lowered him into the room. But the first thing Jesus says to the man is this, "Friend, your sins are forgiven" - which is the language of salvation. Only then does Jesus then tell the man to "get up" and he is healed.
I am grateful that God is still in the business of healing and saving -- especially in a place like JCPC!