Sunday, February 8, 2009

Getting Back Up

"He went and took her by the hand and raised her up. At once her sickness was gone. She got up and cared for them." Mark 1:31

In the fall of 2006, I attended a gathering of Native Women in Hawaii. We were staying at the diocesan camp, right by the ocean. A simple setting and an incredibly beautiful one. The women gathered were from all over, and my husband had tagged along with me since he had never been to Hawaii before. They made room for him, welcomed him and gave him space as he needed. The group shared every thing together, praying and laughing, and telling stories of our families, communities and ministries. We had so much in common despite the fact there we were from very different culture and many distant lands. The care of our children, grandchildren and our communities were always first on our minds and in our stories. Early Sunday morning, we all awoke to a fearsome noise - a deep growling rumbling like an approaching train - and then everything shook for a time. We were without power and water at first, but everyone bravely decided we should travel in to Honolulu as planned, despite the earthquake. Very few of us had ever experienced an earthquake. The cathedral was dark and warm, no one having power, but we were welcomed and happy to be there. Later in the day, a group of Native Hawaiian women came to share with us their stories, music and culture. They came, even though their whole world had been tossed about, even though we had told them it was ok not to come, and even though most of us were strangers. The care of others, even in this extended community again became most important.

Jesus hears that Simon's mother in law was in bed, very sick and near death. The whole world around them was tossed about because a pillar of the family and community was deathly ill. Jesus comes and takes her by the hand, healing her and restoring her capacity to do what she did best - care for others. She, who was so recently ill, leaped at the chance to do what she knew best which was to care for the people around her.

This Sunday, the fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, I want to give thanks for all of those who dedicate their lives to the care and feeding of others. And I pray that Jesus is reaching out to those who silently labor for the good of others, taking by the hand and raising them up. May we all remember that none of us could continue to do what we do without those pillars of our lives and communities -the ones who come out in the midst of illness, who reach out to strangers during earthquakes and who give their lives so that others might thrive - we would be lost without them. And may we know today that Jesus's touch of healing and restoring is available at every moment. May we have the courage to get back up and serve others, putting the needs of families and community first so that God's love might be broadcast this day far and wide.

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