Monday, March 12, 2012

Healing Touch

And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “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.” And he went with him.
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. Mark 5:21-43

Today our eldest faces yet another surgery, her third in a very short period of time to repair an infection. She has been very sick for quite some time, missing work and in serious pain. I was with her during the last one and her hospital stay, but since my surgery two weeks ago I cannot travel that far. Wonderful dear friends are taking care of her, sitting with her as she faces this next round. Like Jairus, I run to Jesus to beg for him to heal my daughter. And like the old woman in the crowd, I ache to be done with this pain, the confinement and slow progress that never seems quite fast enough. I spend a good deal of time in prayer and today this gospel feels like my story.

Jesus was asked to be in two places at once, surrounded by a crowd pressing so close his progress was painfully slow. He didn't get to the girl before she died because of the human press around him. And he took time to touch the woman who had suffered for so long, who was so worn down and ashamed, so weary with pain and confinement. That slowed his progress too. The Gospel tells us that he took time for the insignificant woman as well as the ruler's child, and held them by the hand. He touched them and healed them. Love's timing is not human timing, and God's desire to touch us with healing hands is stronger than the disease and fear we fight. God loves us first and foremost, and crowds, bad traffic and confusion are no match for the love of God.

Today I ask simply for healing - for love to reach beyond limits, beyond distances and capacities - for all who cry out in pain this day. "Dear God, guide the surgeons hands, the nurses touch, along those who watch and wait and pray. Make us aware of your constant love for each of us reaching beyond time and space with healing and hope in every moment. Help us who are weary from pain and waiting to know your presence and peace. Amen"

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