Lectionary readings for today:
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 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.’ So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?” ‘ He looked all round to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’ -Mark 5:21-34
While having dinner with some good friends recently, they noticed that I was scrunched over and I explained that I had slightly sprained my back after bicycle riding on rough, weather eroded bike trails. I described the winding dirt paths, littered haphazardly with fist sized stones and broken tree limbs. As I recounted the bike ride, I admitted that I immediately became aware that I was out of my element, but I stayed the course and prayed that my face would not meet any of the trees that bordered the narrow, riveted trails, and that the unexpected adventure would end happily.
As I look back now on that ride, I am rather impressed by my adventurous spirit, a little surprised at my risk taking, yet I remember feeling confident that a positive and faithful focus would deliver me back safely.
In the scripture of Mark 5:21-34, we read about a woman who took a big risk, and among a busy crowd of followers, dared to reach out and touch Jesus’ cloak, faithful that, according to his reputation as the Son of the most high God, her bleeding body would finally be disease free. She trembled for fear. What a beautiful portrait of great faith and an adventurous spirit; despite imposing risks she reached out for a touch, praying fervently it would be enough to restore her health, to bring her peace.
“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (V34) Jesus identified the stranger who dared to touch him, turning his question of identity into a blessing of healing and peace.
We don’t have to be flying precariously down a steep dirt path on a bicycle, hanging on for dear life; or thronged within a pressing crowd, trembling and scared, to reach out and grab a fistful of faith and reassurance. All we have to do is ask.
Dear God, there are so many times when life is beyond my control and I come
to you, in faith, to scoop me in a healing embrace. Amen.