July 1, 2018
We’re only in chapter 5 of Mark.
Jesus and the disciples are just starting their ministry
out in the world and it’s picking up steam.
Jesus has healed a few people,
he’s already confronted the religious leaders,
Jesus is being talked about, no doubt.
People are seeking him out.
The disciples are, I’m sure, pleased to be
part of this movement at least for now.
And today, Jairus asked Jesus for help.
His daughter is dying and he doesn’t know where else to turn.
Jairus is a leader of the synagogue.
He must have been desperate to come to Jesus.
He’s an important, powerful man.
This is exactly the type of person
that the disciples were waiting for.
This is just the kind of person that would
give their ministry the boost that it needed.
If Jesus could help Jairus,
they might be able to really make a change in this town.
They might be able to be a strong and powerful group
instead of the ragtag group they were.
Okay Jesus, let’s go and heal that man’s daughter.
I mean, of course, we’re concerned for her, but
this is the chance we’ve been waiting for.
We don’t want to keep the leader of the synagogue waiting.
|Healing In His WingsMarybeth Stafford|
Jesus started to walk with
the disciples and the powerful man
in the right direction moving
through the crowds.
But then he stopped and said,
“Who touched my clothes?”
And you can hear the disciples annoyance.
“Who touched you? Are you kidding?”
There are about a hundred
people around you.”
Forget about all these people
and get to the important one,
come on, Jesus. Jairus is waiting.
But Jesus won’t leave. He stops what he’s doing for this woman.
A woman who has been hemorrhaging for 12 years.
When women were menstruating,
they were seen as unclean and would have been
separated from the community.
She would have been separated for 12 years.
She would have been a pariah.
Not just forgotten, but hated.
People would have been scared of her
maybe they would catch what she had, that
her assumed sin would have rubbed off on them.
She was someone, not just to be ignored but actively avoided.
And she was so pushy. She just came and touched Jesus
His power went out from him without his consent.
She didn’t ask, she just took it from him.
She had no right to do that.
And she had no status to warrant it.
She was just the kind of person that the disciples didn’t want
to be seen with. Someone who would
bring down the ministry, cheapen their reputation.
Someone who should not keep the important mission at hand waiting.
Come on, Jesus, let’s go!
You can tell by the annoyance in the disciples
voice that they would have preferred him to move on.
And I’m sure that Jairus would have preferred
for Jesus to move on and get right to his house.
But Jesus doesn’t. It doesn’t seem fair,
Jairus was first, and Jairus was more important.
But he stops to find out who touched him.
Who took his power. He talks to her,
she tells him her whole truth, which had to take a little while.
And then he tells her that her faith has made her well
and she could go on healed of her disease.
And in that time Jairus’s daughter died.
Now, most people would have moved on.
Either annoyed by the woman’s presumption,
or motivated by the task at hand,
They would have gone to the house of the important man
and left the crowds and the woman behind.
At least to make a show to the important person,
that they were trying their best to help them.
Maybe we would have come back to the
unnamed woman later,
after we were done with the important person.
She had been waiting for 12 years.
What would one more hour mean to her?
I think that everyone at one time or another,
has moved on from a situation in front of us,
and pressed on with whatever we were planning on doing.
Sometimes it’s annoyance,
sometimes it’s not wanting to get involved
sometimes we’re focused on our own priorities.
But often in pressing towards something we want
we miss what’s right there in front of us.
I do this work with the Synod Churches that are in conflict and crisis.
That’s where I was last week when Pr. Bob came from the synod.
And a lot of churches find themselves in conflict because
of the decline in numbers and income, they tend to blame
the pastor, or this group or that, or changes in culture,
They get into fights about who should have done what.
So often in these churches, the lament I hear is that
the people remember the way the church was
around 20-50 years ago, with huge Sunday Schools
and all their friends and families attending.
And so many people spend all their minds and effort
pining for those days and trying to figure out how
to get back to make things they way they were again
(I mean they don’t want to change anything,
but they just want those times to come back)
But they’re so focused on it that, that miss
the opportunities that God has put right in front of them.
One that we went to, the congregation was hyper-focused
on the dwindling Sunday School numbers.
And at the same time the council was complaining
about the constant influx of homeless people
coming to their door and asking for bus fare and food.
There was another church that couldn’t figure out
what to do with themselves besides fight with each other.
They didn’t know what they were going to do at all.
We asked them casually, what’s being built on the land next door?
The city was actually building a food bank and pantry
on the land right next door to the church. Hmmm.
Maybe God is trying to tell them something.
It’s way easier to see these things from the outside.
That’s why they bring other people in.
Mainline Churches these days
are always trying to figure out how to do
merge our regular church business which we are entrenched in
with the regular trauma, and need, and questions
that we seem to be facing every week.
How do we do what we have to do to keep
things running and keep the lights on and do
our normal stuff, and respond to the immediate needs
that are seemingly placed in our laps.
Some have avoided dealing with the world all together,
some have abandoned their tradition and institutions
and just deal with the present issues,
Some have divided the world into the worthy and unworthy
and limit who they respond to.
We do this in our own personal life too.
Do we give to others or take care of our own?
Is building our families the way we make society better,
or does focusing on others in society make our family better?
In some ways the country is in the same dilemma.
People are coming to our borders for help for hope
because the situations in their countries are so desperate.
But we have our own problems,
we have our own poverty, our own children
who have inadequate healthcare.
So do we only focus on our institution
and just those outside suffer and die?
Do we tell them to wait, until we can get our act together?
Do we press on with our goals and forget outsiders?
Some would say that is the best thing to do.
Or do we focus on others at the expense of our own citizens?
Some would say that is the best thing to do.
Some people think that all need, including our own should wait until
we build our infrastructure, our businesses and corporations
and military first. Then everything else will fall into place.
And some would say our compassion is our strength.
That focusing on immediate need, and helping other
people would make us even stronger.
These are actually hard questions that don’t have clear answers
How do we balance everything in nations and in churches?
Or in our personal life and our public life?
As Christians, we follow Christ’s lead and logic
which doesn’t usually follow common logic.
Jesus became powerful, only so that he could give his power away
to nobodies and nothings like that woman who touched him,
and stole his power from him. That’s what he was there to do.
And in giving his power away to others, he became more powerful.
Real power, Godly power is not found in avoiding power,
but in willingly letting people who have none take it away.
The powerful man and his daughter would have to wait.
There was a need right in front of him which required Jesus attention.
But in the end, of the story Jairus’s daughter is saved too.
Even though he was too late to restore her health,
he was there to raise her from death.
The unclean woman
and the high powered official and his dying daughter.
Two completely different people -- but the ministry is the same.
And there is only one Christ who heals and brings wholeness.
His power was gotten, only to be given away to others.
Everyone was healed and whole again.
The kingdom of God is like this.