Friday, June 17, 2011

Alms For An Ex-Leper

Do you remember the scene above, in Monty Python's The Life of Brian? The part of the dialogue that most intrigues me goes like this: 
Ex-Leper: Okay, sir, my final offer: half a shekel for an old ex-leper?
Brian: Did you say "ex-leper"?
Ex-Leper: That's right, sir, 16 years behind a veil and proud of it, sir.
Brian: Well, what happened?
Ex-Leper: Oh, cured, sir.
Brian: Cured?
Ex-Leper: Yes sir, bloody miracle, sir. Bless you!
Brian: Who cured you?
Ex-Leper: Jesus did, sir. I was hopping along, minding my own business, all of a sudden, up he comes, cures me! One minute I'm a leper with a trade, next minute my livelihood's gone. Not so much as a by-your-leave! "You're cured, mate." Bloody do-gooder.
Brian: Well, why don't you go and tell him you want to be a leper again?
Ex-Leper: Uh, I could do that sir, yeah. Yeah, I could do that I suppose. What I was thinking was I was going to ask him if he could make me a bit lame in one leg during the middle of the week. You know, something beggable, but not leprosy, which is a pain in the ass to be blunt and excuse my French, sir.
It's just a silly movie, and I know some find it sacrilegious. But underneath all of that, there may be a semi-serious theological point here...

Do we wish to be well? Healing requires a response in us. The leper can't let go of his old life as a beggar because it's all he knows. He's still defined by his illness.

I wonder about the patterns in our own lives that continue long beyond the time when our various ailments and wounds require them. And what it takes for us to just "let it go?"

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