The Rev. Sheila Scott, Deacon
Second Sunday after Pentecost
In today’s gospel reading, there are two different stories of healing woven together into a single story. While Jesus is on his way to heal and restore life to Jairus’ 12 year old daughter, he heals an unnamed woman who has been hemorrhaging for 12 years.
These two stories intertwined with each other seem to be very different. Jairus was the leader of a synagogue, had a prominent position, and a lot of power and influence in his community, but he begs Jesus for healing of his daughter. The unnamed woman on the other hand lacked power, first because of her gender, and second because of her twelve year illness that forced her into poverty and isolation, but she takes the healing in secret from Jesus.
The contrasts between these two stories are many: rich, poor, powerful, powerless, asks for healing, takes the healing without asking, twelve year old with sudden illness, twelve year old chronic illness, a girl who is touched by Jesus and raised from the dead, and a woman who touches Jesus and is healed instantly.
These two stories are the stories of two people who when they came in contact with Jesus, were transformed from death to life.
Jairus’ daughter was touched by Jesus, and she was restored to life, it was her day of resurrection.
In Jewish tradition life is in the blood. Thus, life was seeping out of this woman for 12 years. By touching Jesus’s clothes, she was instantly healed. It was her day of salvation.
Jesus chooses not to leave people in the conditions in which he finds them.
These healings happened because of faith. As theologian Paul Tillich puts it: “Faith means being grasped by a power that is greater than we are, a power that shakes us and turns us, and transforms us and heals us.
At one level these are stories of individuals, but on another level it is very much the human story. It is as much about men as it is about women. We live our busy lives disconnected from our Creator. Drained of life, we go through the motions. We feel isolated and alone. We often convince ourselves that once this or that happens everything will be better, as soon as the economy gets better, as soon as we have more time, as soon as we get a better job, as soon as we …you get the idea…but until we realize that only God can heal our brokenness, and make us whole, we will struggle to survive.
Only when we open our souls to be touched by God, or reach out and touch God in faith, can we be restored to our original state of wholeness.
So what does this Gospel reading tell us about Jesus? It teaches us that Jesus does not discriminate, whether rich or poor, male or female, all people are afforded the healing power of God. Healing may not always be physical healing, but it WILL restore the person to the wholeness God created one to be.
Following Jesus’ example, do we, the Christian community alter the conditions of people’s lives? Can we bring healing into troubled circumstances…can we cross boundaries related to gender, race, religion, socioeconomic status and any other boundaries that divide our society, and do we advocate for life giving meaning and change? God only knows we need healing! Our society and the world is full of hate, violence, war, suffering, etc. What can we do to counteract all the evil that is done by our fellow humans? How can we follow in Jesus’ footsteps, and promote forgiveness, peace, tolerance, and compassion?
I think we all agree, hate does not drive out hate, only love and forgiveness can do that. Do not ever underestimate the power of love. We are called to sow seeds of love around us, to show compassion, to love our enemies, to forgive those who persecute us. It is not an easy task, but “Faith – according to Samuel H. Miller – faces everything that makes the world uncomfortable – pain, fear, loneliness, shame, death – and acts with a compassion by which these things are transformed, even exalted.”
If each one of us commits to sowing only seeds of love, compassion and forgiveness to all those we encounter, we can create a better world. May God grant us the courage and compassion to do our part in ensuring that Jacob and McKenzie about to be baptized today, will grow up in a more just, loving and peaceful world!
“Lord, you love each of us individually with a unique and personal love. Touch my life with your saving power, heal and restore me to fullness of life. Help me to give wholly of myself in loving service to others.”