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    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 2, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…
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Pentecost 5 Proper 8B  June 27, 2021

2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27
Psalm 130
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Mark 5:21-43

In our opening reading this Sunday, King Saul and his son Jonathan have died in battle. David offers a poetic and powerful lament for these two men. As we know, King Saul had had an illness that tormented him. The only thing that comforted the king was David playing on his lyre, sometimes called a harp. 

As his illness progressed, King Saul became convinced that David was his enemy. The king got to the point where he wanted to kill David, so David left the palace and went into hiding. Jonathan continued to be a loyal friend to David. He stayed in touch with David and warned him when Saul was looking for him to kill him. 

In this lament, David is grieving over his best friend and his greatest enemy. Yet he pays tribute to both Jonathan and Saul. “How the mighty have fallen,” he says. He celebrates the courage of Saul and Jonathan and says that they were “Beloved and lovely…swifter than eagles and stronger than lions.”

David was far from perfect, but, at a time of great sadness, he was able to pay tribute to both Saul and Jonathan, people with whom he had extremely complicated relationships. Perhaps the most important theme of this passage is the tragedy of war.

In our second reading for today, Paul is encouraging the congregation in Corinth to follow through on their promise to raise funds to help the poor people in the Church in Jerusalem. The Corinthians have many gifts and much wealth, and Paul encourages them to share their material gifts with the people of Jerusalem. The members of the church in Corinth were Gentiles, and those in Jerusalem were Jewish. Paul is calling them and us to reach out beyond barriers of race and class to help our brothers and sisters.

In our gospel for today, Mark does one of his sandwich stories. He starts out by  telling us about Jairus and his daughter and then interrupts the story right in the middle to tell another story.

Jesus and his closest followers get into a  boat and cross to the Jewish side of the Sea of Galilee. A huge crowd gathers. One of the leaders of the synagogue, Jairus, comes up to Jesus. We can be sure that Jairus knows that the authorities in Jerusalem are keeping a close eye on Jesus and trying to find a reason to put him in prison or worse.

When your child is ill, you do anything you need to do to save that child. Jairus puts his own life in danger. He falls to his knees and begs Jesus to come and heal his daughter. He has heard about Jesus, and he has complete faith that our Lord can heal his child. Jesus goes with him.

We remember that there is a huge crowd pressing in on Jesus. They want to get close to him. There is a woman in this crowd. On the social status scale, she is as far from Jairus as anyone can get. She is a woman, and in that society, women are considered as chattel, property. A complimentary way to think of a woman in that culture is that she is the equivalent of a prize cow. She is an object, a possession. In addition to that, she has had a hemorrhage for twelve years. This makes her ritually unclean according to the law. She is supposed to stay away from people. Rabbis, and Jesus is a rabbi. are not supposed to be anywhere near a woman, especially a woman who is unclean. Like Jairus, this woman, who is not named, is desperate. She has spent all the money she had going to doctors and they have done nothing to help her.  She is feeing even worse. She has heard about Jesus, and she believes in him with all her heart. She comes up behind him in the press of the crowd and touches his cloak, She completely believes that touch will heal her. The hemorrhage stops in that instant. Relief flows into her.

But Jesus has felt power going out of him. He asks, “Who touched my clothes?” The woman is filled with fear.  She could try to run away. She could attempt to disappear into the crowd. But she does not. She feels the love flowing from Jesus, a love that changes her life then and there. She is still afraid, but she kneels before him, as Jairus did, and tells him the whole truth. And what does Jesus do? Punish her? Yell at her? No. He says, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease.”

Now, some people come and tell Jairus that his daughter has died. Jairus’ heart sinks. But Jesus tells him, “Do not fear, only believe.” Jesus takes Peter, James, and John, his closest disciples, and they go with Jairus to his house. Jesus goes into the house and finds a group of people weeping and wailing. He puts them outside. He creates a place of quiet and healing. Then he takes the child’s parents and they go into her room. He takes the girl by the hand and says, “Little girl, get up!” And she gets up and walks around. And then he tells them to give her something to eat. Jesus is always practical, always down to earth. This girl is alive! She needs nourishment.

Jairus and the unnamed woman are on opposite ends of the social scale. Our Lord treats them with the same infinite level of love and respect for their dignity. He knows how they feel. They are both at the end of their tethers. They are willing to risk anything. He gives them his complete focus and energy. He is there for them. He knows their anguish and desperation. He senses the depth of their faith. A woman is healed from something that made her unclean, unacceptable. A twelve year old girl has another chance at life. Our Lord can take us by the hand and give us a new lease on life. God can heal us of things that separate us from others. God can lead us from death to life.

The ministry of healing is a powerful thing, In many and different ways, all of you are involved in ministries of healing, whether it be caring for animals, feeding others, listening to others and sharing God’s love, making prayer shawls, so many ways of sharing God’s healing with others. May our loving and healing God continue to bless you in these ministries.

“Do not fear, only believe,” our Lord tells us. Loving and gracious and healing God, strengthen our faith. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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