And it came to pass on the day following the Sabbath that Jesus pinched a nerve in his back while painting a neighbor’s house. For his day job was carpentry.
Flat on his back in terrible pain, he prayed many psalms of lament, including Psalm 6 in moments of greatest suffering.
Monday at the third hour, just as the Lord was groaning, “OMG, I am weary from my groaning and my eye grows dark due to vexation*,” Mary knocked and entered, carrying a young, fresh puppy. This was Mary— no, not the one you’re thinking of. The other one. See, there’s Jesus’ mother, there’s Martha’s and Lazarus’s sister, then there’s… It’s confusing. Anyway: Mary.
Mocking him good-naturedly, she sing-song asked him, “Hmm. Which is easier, to forgive someone’s sins or to heal his body?”
And, setting the puppy down, it ran straight for the Rabbi, tromping on his chest and licking his face. And behold, the Lord became mirthful– at first a slightly painful sputter which quickly turned to delighted giggles.
“This puppy can eat crumbs from my table anytime!” giggled Jesus. “Blessed are you, little dog, for you have made me forget myself and remember love.”
And Mary laughed too, partly because she loved Jesus so dearly, partly because some people thought the Lord could not get hurt or ill because he was somehow less than fully human (for she herself preferred the synoptics), but mostly because healing is a beautiful mystery that can come from unexpected places– even from a different species.
And after a few moments, the Lord dismissed the puppy and said to Mary in a grateful sigh, “Mary, be a servant and bring my ibuprofen, would you?” for though he had experienced great healing, the inflammation in his upper back region yet was great. “And something to eat,” he added, for he knew it was bad to take on an empty stomach.
*Yes, from Psalm 6.