What does it mean for us to bring our whole experience to God for healing?
Once we trust in God’s healing of us, do we trust to bring healing to others as well?
Last week, heard about woman who reached out for Jesus’ clothing, trusting that would be enough to heal her
But that was the middle part of a longer story. A man of some importance, the synagogue leader – at least important enough to record his name, Jairus- made a request of jesus, to come heal his little girl.
She was very sick, needed help, maybe she could die, as a father he did not want to have that happen- went to Jesus and asked for him to come to his home. Jesus started walking with him.
So when the woman touched Jesus and the power went out of him, when he stopped, turned around and looked to find who it was who he had healed without even knowing it, what did Jairus do? Did he keep walking a few paces, hoping Jesus would get the message and hurry up already? Did he pause with curiosity as others seemed to have, how could Jesus know the power went out of him, when there were so many crowded in around him? Did Jesus have any conflicting feelings when he saw it was just a poor old woman who had touched him, and he has made to wait this important-ish man of the community? We don’t get any glimpse of that, I admit it, but remember Jesus is very human in Mark.
But Jesus just says, keep trusting. Jairus’ response is to keep walking with him the rest of the way.
Jesus gets to his house and the mourners have already come, and when he says she is only sleeping they laugh at him.
Now I don’t want to say anything disrespectful, because it is important when someone passes, to grieve them, to let the emotions that come up, be what they are. People do die in this world, every single day, and every time someone is mourning their passing.
But in this case, Jesus, God incarnate, death conqueror that he is, is offering hope to the grieving family. Their laughing at him, when he says she is just sleeping, he has no patience for it. he throws them out, just like he throws demons out of the ones they possess. this miracle is not for them. He takes only the parents and 3 disciples, and goes to her, he takes her hand and says Talitha koum, which means, young woman, get up.
And she did.
Got up and started walking around. Not just barely alive, not just breathing and blinking again, but on her feet, walking, something she may not have done for quite some time, if illness has been getting to her slowly.
They are in shock. Jesus tells them not to tell anyone, and to give her something to eat. They are in shock to the point of forgetting basic needs, now that she is well she needs some fuel for all the energy she is using, walking around in there.
What we have talked about over these weeks of healing series are, God’s nature of breaking into our sorrows to throw us the party we need to heal us, and swallow up death, how we can reach out to Jesus for healing today, but today I want to consider the way other people can be a part of our healing story. The father, Jairus, is the one to go get Jesus on his daughter’s behalf. Without him going to ask, Jesus probably would not have gone to heal her.
But there were also the mockers, those who laughed at the idea of overcoming death. They had to be moved out of the way.
They were not able to hinder Jesus, that is for sure. But I wonder if sometimes we don’t imitate that posture more than the others in this story. When something tragic happens, are we looking for a way for God to come and heal, or telling everyone the gossip side of it? are we scoffing at the idea that God can indeed bring healing?
We can all be advocates for others, our family members and others. We can be the way that God’s healing comes, or we can at least ask on their behalf.
Has anyone every done that for you, when things seemed really bleak, when you needed help, someone went on your behalf to get you what you needed?
Or have you done that for someone else at some time, they were so bad off they could not help themselves, so you got involved, for their healing? And we tend to think about physical healing, but remember we are speaking in the wider sense- healing of body mind spirit and relationships.
I remember being in high school and I had a friend who was a strong Christian, of another denomination, but we used to get together and pray together. He helped me pray that my dad would be able to admit he was an alcoholic some day and get sober. That prayer request took years. I saw him one day, years later and told him that God had heard our prayer.
But at the time, his parents did not like the kind of church I went to, and they knew my parents were divorced and they tried to keep him from being friends with me because I came from a “broken home.” And they were supposedly good Christian people. But they focused on what I’ll call today, the death side of the equation, and not the life that God could bring. The healing God could bring, which thanks be to God here I am today, daughter of divorce and alcoholic. Pastor, preacher, wife, mother- not that I’m perfect by any means but I rejoice in God’s bringing me to where I am today.
What do we look for, what do we think God is up to today, beloved? Just same old, same old, the deaths of many kinds that are all too common in this world, or something new and life giving?
Are we people who use our power and privilege, our gifts and talents, our energy and life, seeing how we can help others, how we can lift others up or find someone who can?
Or do we get used to suffering and scoff at the idea that God can do something different?
I watched yesterday the message that Derek gave while I was on vacation. I appreciate his vulnerability in speaking about how hard this year plus of covid has been on him, on his family, on his friends, on their families. How we have had to change our idea of how we love one another. It has stressed us and stretched us, for sure.
This is the kind of reflecting that I think all of us could benefit from. Really admitting to God, to ourselves, to one another, just how hard this time has been, that is what I mean by bringing our whole experience to God at this point in time. Powering through the hardest part may be necessary for a time, but you just can’t do it forever. There needs to be a time of rest, of self-care, of considering, how do we go on from here? The healing we need may be physical in part, but a lot of it for many of us is harder to define, somewhere between mental, emotional, spiritual.
Jesus had to remind them, give her something to eat. There was care that the family needed to give to her, even though she had just been miraculously woken from death by Jesus. It echoes the theme from Isaiah 25- God bringing healing through the delightful shared meal. Again, there is more than one kind of healing going on. He called the other woman, daughter. This daughter, young woman, he gives back to the family, that they might care for her again.
There is healing that God gives, beloved, but there are ways that we give care and healing to one another. Many times just hearing one another’s experience is a way to bring healing. Feeding one another can bring healing. Touch can bring healing- when safe, right. There are many ways we can be a balm to one another, and be advocates for one another.
In this time, of well are we back in the worst of it or will the swell die down soon, 16 months into the time of Pandemic, let us bring our own whole experience to God, but let us also look around and see, how could I help someone else? Is there a friend who I could listen to, pray for, give a ride to? Just like Jairus went to Jesus on behalf of his little girl, we can all go to God on behalf of others. Just like it was probably her mom then, who went to make a meal, we can all participate in caring for one another. Perhaps you can think, right now, of one simple action you could do today, tomorrow, sometime this week, a way to bring healing to someone else.
In the end, Jesus tarried in healing one woman but that didn’t mean the little girl was gone forever. We serve the God who overcomes death, and invites us to be on the side of life and healing right by Jesus’ side, may it be so, Amen.