2015-02-01 – Rev. Dr. Ryan Sato – First Baptist Church Edmonton
Echo the Story #22 of 36: HOPE & HEALING
Jesus and his disciples are gaining notoriety in the hills and trails of rural Galilee…he’s just turned several farmer’s economy upsidedown by sending 2000 swine to a demon-filled frenzy of suffocation and drowning in the eastern banks of the sea of Galilee. Some of the people are amazed at this one who speaks to the spirits of evil and rebukes them. Others are in an uproar for Jesus has potentially bankrupted their livelihood! Get this wanna-be “robin hood” hero out of here!
Jesus and the 12 disciples jump into Peter’s boat, hoping to have a night of solace and safety as they cross the river and come back to Jewish territory. It’s a quiet night, the disciples are weary and emotionally frazzled…they come to the shore and instead of a quiet, anonymous reception, Jesus and his gang are treated like red carpet celebrities!
The crowds eagerly await them…some come running into the shallow waters, splashing about as they welcome this healer and hope-giver. What will he do next? Is this the Messiah who will set us free from Roman oppression? Is this the new Elijah?
Jesus, help! Jesus come here! Jesus, save me!
Imagine 2000 people jockeying for position, shouting along the shoreline, desperate to get Jesus’ attention and beckoning his men to respond to their pleas.
Some help the disciples drag the boat up onto the rocky beach, Jesus jumps off the bow and starts to push his way through the crowd, hoping to find a place for food and drink. Some of the religious leaders of the synagogue start to make a scene and are able to create a space for Jesus to be seen and heard…
One of the religious leaders, Jairus, a man of influence and means is helped by his upper-class buddies in clearing the way…
In the name of YHWH, clear the way!!
Jairus, dressed in fine linens, looks good, but his life is in shambles…he falls to his knees and grovels in the dust before Jesus…
“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.”
Jesus replies: “Let us go…”
The crowd roars with excitement (anticipation) and again presses in upon Jesus and his disciples as they make their way to Jairus’ house.
It’s a 30 minute walk and there’s no time to waste!
Ten minutes into the journey, Jairus catches a glimpse of a familiar face, a woman who was often begging in the courtyard of the synagogue. She lunges for Jesus’ sleeve and hangs on but in a matter of seconds is swatted away by Peter’s burly open hand.
Jesus stops abruptly in the midst of the noisy, sweaty crowd.
He shouts out… “Who touched me? Who touched me? Who touched me?”
John and James look at each other…bewildered…
“You see the crowds pressing in you, don’t you? How can you say ‘Who touched me?’”
The crowd retreats from Jesus…his face is somber and intense as he scans the crowd…he seems upset!
The beggar woman from the synagogue courts drops to her knees and just like Jairus, grovels in the dirt and dust before him.
“I’ve heard of you, Jesus, and I touched your cloak and I prayed that I might be made well…and my bleeding has stopped! I feel it in my body…for the first time in 12 years…I am healed of my disease!”
Jesus looks at her with care and compassion…
“Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
The crowd is stunned and still silent…the woman weeps tears of joy…and the moment is interrupted by the somber declaration from one of Jairus’ puffing & panting servants… “Sir, your daughter is dead, you need not trouble the teacher in coming.”
Jairus is shell-shocked & broken-hearted.
But Jesus looks at Jarius with care and compassion…
“Do not fear….only believe.”
* * * * * * *
Now, we are privy to the resurrection “let’s have tea & crumpets” ending of this story and that is awesome and amazing but…
I’d like us to try and live into the tension of the present moment of this story…
to dwell in that “not yet” space and time of this Jesus encounter – –
HOPE and HEALING.
Where do we find ourselves “dwelling” with these 2 themes as we reflect on our real lives, in real time, unfolding right now…and where and how might we draw strength from the power and presence of Jesus as he moves through this story today…and moves through the pews by his presence among us…
HOPE and HEALING are probably similar to the movements of JOY and SORROW…they are inseparable…
In the midst of HOPE, we might experience healing, but then we hope for another thing, another dream, another relationship to be made well…
In the midst of HEALING, we recognize that this side of glory, not all is healed, not all is made well as we might pray for…and yet we hope for another day, even another place, where all will be made well…and all is well…
And the GOOD NEWS of today’s dramatic and frantic “healing within a healing” story is that Jesus (in this season of his life) will live life perpetually interrupted BY please for healing and mercy.
Now this might be bothersome news for some of us…because it seems that the pattern of Jesus’ ministry-life was that he was the picture-perfect example of the disorganized minister.
Jesus was not a TYPE A person.
Jesus was not concrete-sequential.
Jesus didn’t carry a day-planner
Jesus didn’t follow the rules very well.
Jesus wasn’t one of those “busy people get it done” type of people. We probably wouldn’t want him on church council because he would never really come through for us or finish his assigned tasks, or even show up on time.
Jesus doesn’t really behave like a responsible, first born son ought to, does he?
Jesus really isn’t that efficient? And look at the ordinary, uneducated people that he chooses as he attempts to change the world? Not exactly making very good leadership decisions is he (you’d think the son of God might show a little more emotional intelligence?)
Jesus is a bad religious leader! And that ought to be GOOD NEWS for us.
Because when it comes to matters of HOPE and HEALING…in the midst of all of Jesus’ inability to organize, prioritize and execute a plan – –
Dead things, dreams and relationships, stuff that we thought was gone for good…
They start to heal…they start to come back to life!
It’s not because Jesus is PROFICIENT…it’s simply because he’s PRESENT.
It all happens because Jesus is “interrupt-able.”
So today’s stories aren’t solely about the end product:
poor woman gets healed or Jairus’ daughter is raised…because if that’s the point, then a lot of us get left out of that happy ending stuff because we know that it doesn’t always work out that way. In our life stories, the woman doesn’t always get healed…the dying one doesn’t come back to life.
The bigger and greater good news point of the story is that hysterical fathers and pushy, desperate women elbow their way into the plot of the Jesus’ story…and Jesus stops, looks and listens.
So, no matter where we find ourselves on the spectrum of humanity today – – whether you’re on the higher rungs of the “respectability ladder” or whether you’ve found yourself in the margins of society, feeling like an outcast – –
disorganized, running-behind-schedule Jesus is ready to be interrupted by you.
In fact he’s longing for you to come…
So that he might say to you…
“Beloved daughter… Beloved Son….
Be made well – – – Do not fear – – – Believe – – –
It’s not a magic potion he’s offering. It’s his abiding presence in the midst our crumbling pride or our last-ditch efforts to grasp for a miracle.
And as we journey towards the table this morning, Jesus also exclaims to us, as if we were 12-year old children…
Little ones, get up…let’s eat!”
Let the love of Jesus
surround and consume us,
Let the peace of Jesus
gently touch our hearts,
Let the courage of Jesus
help us persevere in faith,
Let the wisdom of Jesus
help us follow the path
which leads to giving all
for the one who gives us life. (Cindy Tuttle)