Summer Take Away – July 1, 2012
Happy 4th of July!!!
Theme: Do Not Be Afraid!!!
The First Reading: Lamentations 3:21-33
Lamentations is a short book of laments, or woes, probably written in Palestine after the fall of Jerusalem in 587. Lastly, it reveals complete trust in God and our desire to turn in the direction of God (repentance), bringing light into darkness.
William Butler Yeats, in his famous post World War I poem, “The Second Coming”, wrote of the fear if the center cannot hold. It is the same fear known to those revolutionary war soldiers, I imagine, as they fought so courageously for our freedom those hundreds of years ago. It is the same fear God’s chose, the Israelites knew, when their beloved home for God, Jerusalem, collapsed and they were sent into exile.
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Will God’s mercies endured? Is God’s faithful love exhausted? Not likely. But, this doesn’t mean we don’t have times when we feel helpless, deserted, alone, and incapable of holding on. Left to our own devices, the centre cannot hold and fear creeps in. So, we search for the Lord, who sometimes seems so distant, so far away. Our God is a good God. We search, we wait and the Lord comes. The Lord does not reject. Our God enters in and disarms our fears. Instead, may we trust in God. Put our hope in our good God.
The Gospel: Mark 5:21-43
This is a rich story, with Jesus active in teaching, preaching, and miraculously healing that evokes anxiety, desperation, deep hope, belief, fear and the possibility that in Christ all will be well.
Jesus is ministering along the Sea of Galilee, where he practices most of his ministry. In the crowds approaches a desperate leader, the president of the synagogue (most like our senior warden or a seasoned verger). His name is Jairus.
As is typical of Mark’s writer, suddenly Jesus is interrupted. A woman, who has been suffering from a bleeding disorder for 12 years, scared for her life, now at the end of her rope and ready to try anything, reaches out in the crowd. She believes if she can just touch Jesus’ robe, she will be saved. Reaching out in faith, she touches Jesus’ robe.
We’re reminded that her salvation is restoration to society, inclusion in her community where a woman, alone, suffering from illness is ostracized and excluded. Her touch brings about immediate healing.
Jesus is always in our interruptions. Have faith in our fears. Believe in the power of Jesus touching our lives.
Now, we’re not certain if Jairus is an interruption. But, Jesus is in a huge crowd and stopping to make individual interviews could well be considered an interruption, or a saving act. Jairus’ daughter is dying. In fact, while Jesus is ministering to the woman, we learn that Jairus’ daughter is dead.
Jesus says, “do not be afraid; only have faith.”
Withdrawing from the crowd, fully emerging himself in Jairus’ grief, Jesus brings hope. He journey’s to the house, and enduring ridicule and disbelief, taking the hand of the child, he restores her to life. Immediately, she is up and about the business of a 12 year old girl. They are not seeing a ghost. Rather, they are witnessing the miracle of Jesus saving.
The word for “save” in Greek, is often the same word used for “make well”. In Christ, we are made free of fear, made well, called to live in “shalom”, to go in peace.
This week, may we ask: How do our fears stop us from having faith? What does faith mean?
This week, practice letting Jesus interrupt you. Practice interrupting Jesus. Reach out to Jesus. Trust in the miracle of his healing.
Let us pray: Loving Lord, how good you are. Lord, how near you are to us – so near that we may always reach out to touch your strength and love – so near that we may always talk with you, be comforted by you, breathe through you, be enlightened by you, find peace in you, and gain spiritual nourishment from you. Grant that we may belong wholly to you. Thank you, Lord. Amen.