Pentecost +5b – Sunday 1st July 2012
Mark 5: 21-43
Are you a list person? At the start of a working week, or even at the start of a day off, or a week off, do you make a list of all the jobs that you need to complete? I am. First off, I need to focus my thoughts on what needs to be done – you can easily forget these things if you don’t write it down! Secondly, you can get some sort of priority of things that DEFINITELY need to be done, those things that ought to be completed, and those things that it would be good to get around to because they’ve been at the bottom of your list for so long. Thirdly, it gives shape to your day/week, you roughly know what you’re doing and when you’re supposed to be doing it. And fourthly, get on with it…
The other week I played a blinder. Not only did I complete my list of things to do well ahead of schedule, but I moved on to some of those tasks that had slipped off the end of previous ‘To-Do’ lists unfinished!
As they say, I was on a roll. Bit like Jesus in the passage from Mark’s gospel…
Jesus said to her, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.”
Jesus was on his way to Jairus’s home. Along the way he met the woman with the issue of blood. She had a need, she saw a solution, she believed in him, job done. Jesus recognised that, and far from wanting to confront or condemn her, I think he simply wanted to look into her eyes. Fresh from facing the panic and fear of the disciples as they crossed the lake on a particularly unpleasant day for sailing Jesus wanted to see a face full of hope and faith … and this is what he encountered.
Women in the time of Jesus got a raw deal … and in fact, times haven’t changed all that much. I’m always saddened that the woman in this story wasn’t named. Bit like the Syro-Phoenician woman who appears in Mark 7, or the woman who anointed Jesus at the house of Simon the Leper in Mark 14. Unnamed women. Some of the majesty of their deeds dimmed and diluted by men who couldn’t be bothered to write their names … women praised by Jesus, women held up as an example for others to follow and aspire to, women to be remembered and to be honoured.
Jesus liked that moment. He saw true faith. He met a women who was prepared to take a risk, to put her whole trust in him. He saw the Christ-light burning in her. “Live well, live blessed,” were his words of praise and encouragement. The woman galvanised Jesus, because when he turned round and saw the messenger bearing the news that Jairus’s daughter has sadly died, he interrupts to say: “Whoa! I’m on a roll here. I’ve just put a big tick on my to-do list, have faith that I will put another tick next to your daughter’s name!” (Although sadly we don’t get to know the name of Jairus’s anonymous daughter!!!)
Do we galvanise Jesus? Do we inspire God? Now there’s a thought. Or are our lives of faith so safe and sanitised that we remain more anonymous than the anonymous woman of Mark 5? Are we prepared to take a risk of faith for God?
Let’s get things in perspective here. I’m not saying that the only risk of faith is like volunteering to do unpaid Missionary work in Honduras. A risk of faith might be as simple as offering a neighbour a cup of coffee and a listening ear. Or taking a copy of the Bible to someone you think might appreciate it. Or inviting someone to church for a special service. Or asking a friend if they would like you to pray for them. Or asking God to do something for you, like healing, or forgiveness, or restoration.
This is Good News. But good news requires us to interact, to respond, to take part, to maybe even take a risk. It sounds frightening, it looks scary, what will other people say? But the rewards far outweigh the option of simply doing nothing. You ask what’s-her-name, you know, that woman from Mark 5.
Ok. Blog written. Blog published. Big tick on my to-do list. Next.