Yesterday I preached a sermon that focused on advocacy. The basis of the message came from the the Gospel of Mark 6:53-56. In the scripture passage, people carried their friends and loved ones to the feet of Jesus so that those who suffered illnesses could touch His garment and be healed. While I think this passage is a strong testament of faith, the advocate in me questioned the text. I wondered about those who struggled with illness and did not have a person to carry their mat to the feet of Jesus. What happened to them? Where they not healed? Surely the Messiah showed compassion on those who could not advocate for themselves.
I think of my blood brothers and sisters in the hemophilia community, who struggle and have no one to help show them how to maneuver through the chaos of insurance, or of teaching the hows and whys of maintaining good care. What about the least of these? I believe that it is our duty to bring the voice of hope into the lives of those who cannot speak for themselves. We must bring awareness to their struggles, for they are part of our family. We are joined together by being members of the human race.
One of my greatest joys in life is to witness how the quality of lives are changed when the community agrees to “carry the mat” for everyone who struggles. When we stand together, advocating for each other, amazing things begin to happen. We bring awareness to those who suffer, we unite together for the common good of our society, and we also acknowledge the importance of maintaining our connectedness as we traverse the needs of those who cannot speak for themselves.
Today, I remember the members of my community and give thanks for the mighty advocates who constantly “carry the mats” for others. They are fierce and loyal to their commitment to initiate change. They are a work of art as they help to create a path illumined by hope. Praise be to God who never forgets a single one of us; even the ones who cannot speak for themselves.