8/5/18 – The Woman Who Dares to Touch Jesus

Posted on : Aug 2nd, 2018 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

The piano in the Social Hall is balanced precariously on a dolly so it can be moved while Abilio strips and waxes the floor.  On it, in bold red letters, is the notice: Please do NOT TOUCH pianoIt is on a dolly and can easily fall off!”

Now, if we left the piano out in the Social Hall on Sunday, how many people do you suppose would touch it?  I’m not just talking about the kids.  I’m talking about the grownups!

There is something about a “Please do not touch” sign that makes us want to touch it just to see what will happen.  Sometimes we get away with it.  Other times we wish we had followed the warning, especially if something crashes and breaks into a bunch of pieces.

This Sunday we continue our summer worship series focusing on some of the “bad boys and bad girls of the Bible.”  And this Sunday, we encounter a woman who dares to touch Jesus, even when she knows that is not acceptable.

In the world in which Jesus lived there were strict barriers about who could touch whom and when someone could be touched.  Women could not touch men and men could not touch women.  Behind much of the inequality and religious prohibition which separated women and men was the issue of menstruation.  Somehow, it came to be believed that menstruation was dirty.  That’s a rather odd conclusion once you realize that without menstruation the human race would disappear very quickly.  Menstruation is the very life-force of procreation.  You can’t have conception without menstruation.  Be that as it may, this “difference” between men and women was used to divide and separate men and women.  It created horrible barriers of injustice, inequality and oppression.

In this Sunday’s gospel story, we meet a woman who had a continuous flow of blood for twelve years.  This story was so important in the early church that it was included in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s gospel!  This woman had been excluded and marginalized for 12 years.  She had suffered immense pain and had spent all her money on doctors who had not been able to help heal her.  In fact, she was getting worse.  She was desperate for healing – who wouldn’t be?

She obviously knew of Jesus and believed if she could just touch the hem of his garment, she would be made well.  At last, her chance came near.  Jesus came up behind her and she reached out and touched him!

“Who touched me?” Jesus shouted!  Peter said to him, “The crowd is pressing upon you, what do you mean, who touched you?”  Trembling, the woman came forward and threw herself at Jesus’ feet.  Jesus said, “My daughter, your faith was the source of your healing.  Be free and go in peace.”

Imagine the joy this woman must have felt!  She took the risk of her life, so that she might be made whole – and it came to be.

What about you and me?  For all kinds of reasons, many of us are afraid to touch Jesus – to touch the healing, liberating presence of the Divine both within and around us and so we walk around wounded and bleeding in our own unique ways.  What does this woman who broke the rules and laws of her faith tradition have to say to us today about finding healing and wholeness for our lives and spirit?

More on that this Sunday.

Blessings,

Dan

 Mark 25: 25-34

There was a woman in the crowd around Jesus who had suffered from a flow of blood for twelve years. Various doctors were unable to cure her.  After long and painful treatment, she had spent all her money and was not any better. In fact, she was getting worse. “If I but touch his clothes,” she had told herself, “I will be well again.”  She came up behind Jesus, reached out, and touched the tassel on his garment, and she was instantly cured.
 
“Who touched me?” Jesus shouted. “The crowd is pressing upon you,” said Peter. “What do you mean, ‘who touched me?'” But he searched the crowd, insisting, “I felt power go out from me. I want to know who touched me.” Trembling the woman came forward and threw herself at his feet.  Jesus said, “My daughter, your faith was the source of your healing. Be free, and go in peace.”

 

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