God’s Strong Medicine
It’s intriguing to me how frequently our morning worship services will contain a pleasant surprise of some kind, whether an unplanned correlation between a song and a prayer or a testimony that just fits with this or that aspect of the sermon or some other thing. It’s remarkable how frequently the Spirit of God seems to be working in similar ways and prompting similar ideas in the hearts and minds of people in our community.
This morning, we had a baptism and membership service in our church and my sermon tried to approach these themes through the lens of John 5:1-9 and Jesus’ question to the lame man beside the pool, “Do you want to be made well?” During the children’s story, the kids were encouraged to have a look at our Easter-Pentecost banner on the wall which bore the words, “Witnessing God’s Glory” (see image above). Someone had made a banner with these words translated into a wide variety of languages—French, Spanish, German, Mandarin, and a few other widely spoken languages.
One language on the banner was not so familiar. The person who had made the banner had made a special point of getting “Witnessing God’s Glory” translated into Blackfoot (the Blackfoot Confederacy covers a large portion of southern Alberta and a bit of Montana, and is one of the largest in Canada). Interestingly, there is no direct translation for the word “glory” in Blackfoot. So our storyteller today did a bit of research and discovered that the Blackfoot translation on our banner literally means, “Witnessing God’s Strong Medicine.”
How very appropriate, I thought, on a Sunday where our text talked about Jesus speaking life and healing to a man who had spent his entire life unable to access the “medicine” he needed. How very appropriate to hear of God’s “strong medicine” on a Sunday when we welcomed new people into our community, as we together seek to allow Jesus to forgive and renew us, to make us well. What a glorious thing to bear witness to—the Great Physician whose strong medicine may not always be what we want, but invariably meets us in our deepest need.