"Then looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, 'Ephphatha,' that is, 'Be opened'" (Mark 7:34). These words come from an account in which Jesus heals a deaf man with a speech impediment. But the simple command to be opened is one that means a great deal to me. Why? While I am blessed with hearing and speech, with sight and full use of my limbs, there are many areas of my life that are closed up, shut off. There are days when I find myself angry or lonely or not willing to deal with other people. At times like these I may try to hide behind cynicism or humor. I may simply close the doors of' my mind and try not to think too much. Whatever the case, I long for Jesus to appear at those moments and sigh and say to me, "Ephphatha, be opened."
Perhaps you understand what I'm talking about. Maybe you feel the same way. If so, there is hope for all of us. Jesus desires for us to be opened up; our hearts, our minds, our souls, our very living. And in our openness Jesus wishes us to build community, one open life linked to another and another and another until all people stand in honest and loving relationship under the sovereignty of God. Meanwhile, a good verse to remember and to turn to is Mark 7:34, because it reminds us that Jesus can and does heal and restore, and that in Jesus God was willing a new and abundant life for all.
Prayer: Gracious and loving God, touch my life and open it fully to you and to those around me that I may live as a part of the community you are building. In Jesus' name. Amen.