Sunday, February 12, 2012
A leper came to Jesus begging him, and kneeling he said to him, "If you choose, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I do choose. Be made clean!" Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them." But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter. Mark 1:40-45
Most healing is and process and it takes time although we all secretly wish to be healed instantly. Drug companies use that desire to fill their coffers and we suffer still. As we sat in the hospital with Emily the last few days, I ached to take the pain and infection from her. She is making wonderful progress, but healing comes in stages, no matter how sophisticated our medicine. And then there is the healing of spirit that follows, when our bodies have been broken, our spirits are torn too. Healing spirits take time also.
Jesus encountered a man who was riddled with leprosy. He was sentenced to a life away from his family and friends. He was not only ill, but isolated and alone, allowed to only be around those like him. No one would touch him for fear of contracting the disease. And the disease was a life sentence of horrible pain and desolation. Jesus was moved with compassion and touched the untouchable, the incurable, the one cast off from society. His disease made him a complete reject, and it was him whom Jesus touched. We are called to hear this today. That Jesus touch is ready for those who have been cast off, set aside and forgotten. God's compassion rises up for those who have been overlooked and untended, sidelined and ignored. And we are encouraged to reach out in compassion and care.
Today I ask God that we can respond to those who have been set aside and who suffer without relief. May our eyes be open to their need and may our hands respond with healing touch. May God use each and every one of us to serve the un-served, the isolated and rejected ones. May we be the instruments of love and healing this day.
O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.