Monday, July 11, 2011

Aching for a cure

And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter. Mark 1:29-45

I have been under the weather for the past three or four days, with a slight fever, sore throat and a horrible cough. The doctor gave me an antibiotic and wants to see me later today. The antibiotic is messing up my stomach a bit. I picked this up from Mark who caught something while we were traveling to Hawaii. I have spent a good deal of time resting and reading, wishing I was better outside in the sunshine, playing in the garden or swimming at the beach. I am not patient with illness. Few of us are. In this modern age we are learning that ancient cures are sometimes more effective than our expensive drugs. And yet, whatever we have we ache to be whole. We all want to get back to our lives and not be dependent on anyone.

Peter's mother got up and served them when she was made well. She ached to get back to her life. When people heard about her cure, they came in droves, seeking to return to wholeness. A leper seeks to return to his community, his life, to hold his wife and children. He has been shut away, abandoned by society which feared contracting his disease. Whether mental or physical, the people came because Jesus was willing to touch them, to make them whole to give them their lives transformed and renewed. He became so sought after that travel was impeded. It seemed everyone was aching to be cured. And so it is in our day, there are so many aching to be cured, despite science breakthroughs and wonderful research and care. Our gospel today reminds us that we can still seek Jesus for the cure and that we will be treated as gently and tenderly as those who came so long ago.

Today I want to give thanks for God's willingness to walk among the sick and needy, to tenderly care for those who are outcasts and abandoned. I ask God to give me patience with healing and a new appreciation for the health and wholeness I enjoy. May we all rejoice in a Creator who has our welfare in hand and who reaches out to the whole world, going to all our villages and desolate places, touching the least among us.

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