The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 8B (June 28, 2015)
Lessons:Lamentations 3:22-33 or Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24 Psalm 30 2nd Corinthians 8:7-15 St. Mark 5:21-43 Semicontinuous Series: 2nd Samuel 1:1, 17-27 Psalm 130
Prayer of the Day: Almighty and merciful God, we implore you to hear the prayers of your people. Be our strong defense against all harm and danger, that we may live and grow in faith and hope, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
5:21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 24 So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
St. Mark 5:21-43, New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Do we observe the world through the eyes of what is old, or through the eyes of what is new?
I know that my natural inclination is for the old. I tend to have a very practical, skeptical perspective on the world. I am aware of the brokenness, and at times I wish it wasn’t so. I wish the troubled relationships that I experience were well. I wish the physical ailments that I suffer would go away. I wish my old truck didn’t make that strange, new sound when I press the accelerator. I wish the landscape that surrounds me wasn’t parched and dry and vulnerable. I wish the nations of the world were more committed to living together peaceably. I wish the church was vibrant, and more capable of sharing good news with those who don’t yet believe. I even wish the Colorado Rockies had a stronger, healthier pitching staff. I see the brokenness in all these realities, and I wish that it wasn’t so. But my hope is not always strong. I’ve become accustomed to people who are hard to love, bodies that resist healing, automobiles that continually need repair, flammable trees and ground cover, international strife, a church in decline, and pitchers who can’t find the zone.
It is easy for a sense of what is to overcome a sense of what might be.
What strikes me in this week’s story about Jesus, is the hope that becomes evident. Jairus, a leader of the synagogue (Were some of his friends and colleagues already plotting to do away with Jesus?), has a twelve-year-old daughter who is so ill, that she has come to the point of death. Yet he falls down at the feet of the Rabbi from Nazareth and implores him — begs him! — repeatedly, to come and lay his hands on the child. Jairus is filled with a deep hope: the hope that Jesus has the power to make someone well; the hope that Jesus has the power of life.
A woman has been unwell for the same amount of time as this girl has lived. Perhaps these hemorrhages have rendered her unclean, and she has been forced to live at a distance from everything she loves. At the very least, St. Mark tells us, she has endured much at the hand of many physicians, and her medical journey has ruined her life. She fights her way through the crowd, finds herself just behind Jesus, reaches out, and touches the fabric of his cloak. This woman is filled with a deep hope: the hope that Jesus has the power to make someone well; the hope that Jesus has the power of life.
There are those who are less inclined to stake their lives on this hope. “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” (v. 35) Yet Jairus and the woman resist this practical, skeptical perspective. They stake their hopes on Jesus, and on the power of his word: “Do not fear, only believe.” (v. 36) And the healing they receive causes them, and others, to be overcome with amazement.
I know, in fact, that Jesus has the power to make someone well. That Jesus has the power of life. I, too, have seen it happen. I, too, have known those who have been overcome with amazement. This week’s Gospel challenges my practical, skeptical nature — our practical, skeptical nature. And we are invited by the Lord of healing — by the Lord of life — to entrust all the brokenness of our lives to him in hope.
May the Holy Spirit fill us with the faith and trust do to so.
David J. Risendal, Pastor
Exploring This Week’s Gospel:
- What brokenness did the disciples and crowd members observe in their lives?
- In which instances were they able to entrust that brokenness to Jesus?
- How did that become a blessing for them?
Connecting with This Week’s Gospel:
- What brokenness is apparent in my own life?
- In the face of it, am I more inclined to be practical and skeptical, or faithful and hopeful?
- How might I live in a way that trusts in the promise of Christ?