Be Opened

Ephphatha-Be-opened-300x198I have been meditating on the sayings of Jesus for my new poetry sequence Parable and Paradox, and as I reflected on the astonishing story in Mark 7:31-37 about the healing of the deaf and dumb man I was struck by how powerful and resonant was Jesus’ command ‘Be Opened!’. Mark thought it so important that he gave it to us in Aramaic as well as Greek: Ephthatha! Be Opened’.

I believe that all the sayings of Jeus recorded in the Gospels are not only his words to those particular people there and then, but are also his words to each of us individually, and to all of us collectively as the church and, more widely, as humanity, words that come to us quietly sometimes, or suddenly in crisis, but we must have ears to hear. As the church closes ranks against the world, as the world divides and fights against itself, as the razor wires go up around the edge of europe and the borders of the comfortable close against the needy, I feel more and more the urgency of Jesus great command Be opened!

As always you can hear my sonnet by clicking on the ‘play’ button or the title

Be opened

 

Mark 7: 31-37

31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 34Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ 35And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’


Be opened. Oh if only we might be!

Speak to a heart that’s closed in on itself:

‘Be opened and the truth will set you free’,

Speak to a world imprisoned in its wealth:

‘Be opened! Learn to learn from poverty’,

Speak to a church that closes and excludes,

And makes rejection its own litany:

‘Be opened, opened to the multitudes

For whom I died but whom you have dismissed

Be opened, opened, opened,’ how you sigh

And still we do not hear you. We have missed

Both cry and crisis, we make no reply.

Take us aside, for we are deaf and dumb

Spit on us Lord and touch each tongue-tied tongue.

 

Syrian migrants cross under a fence as they enter Hungary at the border with Serbia, near Roszke, August 27, 2015. Hungary made plans on Wednesday to reinforce its southern border with helicopters, mounted police and dogs, and was also considering using the army as record numbers of migrants, many of them Syrian refugees, passed through coils of razor-wire into Europe. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX1PU25

Syrian migrants cross under a fence as they enter Hungary at the border with Serbia, near Roszke, August 27, 2015. Hungary made plans on Wednesday to reinforce its southern border with helicopters, mounted police and dogs, and was also considering using the army as record numbers of migrants, many of them Syrian refugees, passed through coils of razor-wire into Europe. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTX1PU25

 

7 Comments

Filed under christianity, imagination, Poems

7 responses to “Be Opened

  1. Glenda Light

    After seeing so many posts feeding fear and advocating for ‘be closed’, it was timely and refreshing to hear your words. This poem and these thoughts have touched me and challenged me….and brought me to tears! Thank you.

  2. Yes Lord, don’t let us be still about the refugee crisis. A beautiful reminder, that if we can’t do much else, at least we can speak about it…

  3. Deirdre Bryant

    I am reminded of the rich young man who went away sorrowing when Jesus told him to go and sell all he had and give it away, and then follow Him .A fair old bit of sacrificial living and giving is needed to support those in desperate need , I think!

  4. Jackie R.

    This is surely one of your most timely – and needed – messages, Malcolm. Beautifully written and, more importantly, full of truth. A truth the world needs right now, today, and in the coming days as more clashes, turning away from helping, division between rich and poor, and barriers seem to all be inevitably increasing. As I read the news so often I recall those two powerful words from scripture: “Jesus wept.” I’ll now also be remembering, “Be opened.” Your poetry and thoughtful writings are extremely helpful, more than just lovely or comforting. Thank you for doing what you do. Please keep on. Bless you, Malcolm.

  5. My sentiments exactly. Your words are perfect.

  6. Pingback: Whoever Welcomes | Malcolm Guite

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