CAMINANDO WITH JESUS: Beloved Child
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “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.” So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 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, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then 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. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
- Mark 5:21-43
If I could change one thing about social media, it would be to charge a fine every time someone posts: “Share this picture if you have faith in God;” “Repost in 5 minutes and your wish will come true;” “Share this with 10 friends and God will work a miracle in your life;” etc.
That is not how I practice my faith in God. God doesn’t operate on a quid pro quo basis. I can’t imagine making God that small. I also can’t imagine God is checking my Facebook status to see if I do indeed have faith in God.
We’ll come back to this “quid pro quo” faith in a bit, but, for now, let’s focus on the gospel lesson from Mark.
Two miracles take place in this passage: the healing of Jairus’s daughter and the healing of the hemorrhaging woman. The story uses two different types of people, a juxtaposition in and of itself: one male and one female, one who doesn’t ask but makes a demand for Jesus’s help and another who doesn’t even feel worthy enough to ask. She, in survival mode, reaches out and touches the hem of Jesus’ garment, the part that is almost touching the ground, where the dust flies up. She is physically low, emotionally low, in terms of status and power, as low as one could be.
Jesus said, “Who touched me?” She comes to him trembling and full of fear and tells him it was her who touched him. Rather than rebuking her like so many others had done before, Jesus calls her daughter. Jesus says, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Jesus calls her daughter. When was the last time someone called her anything other than unclean, unworthy, unwanted, unloved?
While the conversation takes place, news arrives that Jairus’s daughter has died. Jairus had just learned of his own daughter’s death, and Jesus has the audacity to say to him, “Do not fear, only believe.”
Jesus breaks through the noise of grief erupting in the heart of Jairus. Jesus breaks through and quiets that noise to the point that the heart can hear the healing voice of Jesus. Jesus doesn’t say, “Everything is going to be alright” because it might not be alright. Jesus reminds the synagogue leader to have faith: Do not be afraid, believe--even in this darkest moment--things are not as they seem. Jesus continues to make his way to Jairus’s house, to Jairus’s daughter. He says to the gathered mourners, “She is only sleeping.” And he enters the room, takes her by the hand and says, “Talitha Cum.” "Little girl, get up."
There are two sick people, two healings, two miracles, two people whose lives have been changed forever by their faith in Jesus. This passage seems to give off the understanding that, if you have faith in Jesus, then nothing bad will ever happen. Friends, I am here to tell you we cannot afford to let our minds and hearts feast on that cotton candy flavor of faith. It may taste sweet melting in our mouths, but it does nothing for the rest of our body; it does nothing to sustain our very lives.
What is important to remember is life does have its ups and downs. The root cause of these ups and downs is not God. Bad things don’t happen to people because they didn’t have enough faith. God is not that small. God loves us. God loves us so much. What happens in our lives is not a result of faith or lack of faith. The greatest hurts in our lives, the deepest, darkest most painful hurts in our lives do not happen because of God.
When we are hurt, when disappointments happen, when fear moves to a deeper, cellular place, what our faith offers us is a chance to go to God in prayer, go to God with our tears, our pain, our sorrow and give it all over to God. Our faith offers us a chance to come together as a community, holding each other in prayer, being fed and nurtured and healed through our connection to God and to one another. What our faith offers us is the understanding that even in our darkest hour, our greatest need, we are not alone. Our worries, grief, sorrow, feelings of uncertainty--these we can give over to God through our relationship with God as we rest for a bit, regroup, rely on one another truly to be the hands and feet of Christ. And then we get back up.
Talitha Cum. Child of God get up. Jesus is speaking to each of us. I see you. You are not invisible. You are beloved. Talitha Cum. Your faith has made you well and this is the community that will be here for you in your darkest hour as well as in your greatest joy.
Tags: Caminando with Jesus