Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. Just then there came a man named Jairus, a leader of the synagogue. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, who was dying.
As he went, the crowds pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.” When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
While he was still speaking, someone came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.” When Jesus heard this, he replied, “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.” When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. They were all weeping and wailing for her; but he said, “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and called out, “Child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened. Luke 8:40-56
My father had four daughters and one son. He was very proud to have a son, and also adored his daughters. He was traditional and conservative and he built us up, made us strong and taught us to each be our own person. He was respectful at all times. When I was feeling called to ministry, trying desperately to wiggle out of it, I called my father. I told him maybe I should go to Princeton and get a degree in Christian Education, he told me no! He said that if God was calling me to be ordained, I had to follow that call. I argued that it was hard for me as a woman and a mother. He told me that the road would surely be hard, but I was not walking it alone and that God would give me the courage and strength for each day.
Jesus encounters two women who are overwhelmed with physical issues. A little girl is at the point of death. As a rabbi, he didn't need to take time for these women, he didn't need to touch, what would be in his day, the very unclean and repulsive. The father's plea was interrupted by a woman grabbing at him, and yet in all of this, he respected and loved these two, giving them the gift of life. Their faith and the faith of their communities make them symbols for all of us as to how God moves in this world. And, it gives us a way to be in the midst of a rude and abusive world. We are called to love and respect at all times.
Today, I ask God to help me walk the road of love and respect. May we take the time to walk the hard roads, the roads of challenge and abuse, knowing that God will give us the strength, courage and life we need for each encounter along the way.