Monday, January 28, 2013

Do Not Fear, Only Believe

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

We lived in Baltimore Maryland for many years. We both went to college there, we met there and were married in Baltimore. Our older two daughters were born there. I was a seminarian from the Diocese and returned there to serve. Baltimore is a city with many delights and many challenges. It can be a rough place to live but mostly it's a colorful character, full of wit, tenacity and wisdom. They nicknamed her Charm City many years ago. One particular rough time in the city, folks took up the slogan, "b'lieve hon". Hon is a local slang, shortened version of honey as only one can say if you're from Baltimore. People know themselves to be run down and run over on occasion, hard pressed and disregarded, but they are willing to fight back with great heart and a sense of humor.

Jesus has several encounters in our reading for today. A woman who has been suffering for many years, her life and funds drained from her reaches out to him. And her faith makes her well, despite all her suffering, and she is called daughter. Then Jairus' daughter, who was given up for dead, was raised to life. She got up on her feet and walked around. The faith of a father, a mother - the ones who cherish and nurture life no matter the challenges -are the ones to see restoration and renewal despite the doom around. We are invited to be people like them, who live with determination in our faith, believing that God has more for us. God has more for us to do and God has much, much more to give us.

Today as we begin our visit home, may I be a true believer, one who trusts that God has much much more in store. May we live as people who have faith, not when it is easy but even when the streets are mean and the money is tight. May we have faith like Jairus and the woman, people who reached out in faith and knew the loving touch of God.

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