13 Sunday - B- July 1-Homily 1

Jairus' Daughter

Mark 5:21-43 - "The Healing of Jairus' Daughter and the Hemorrhaging Woman"
Mark 5:21-43 - "Be Healed, Be Held" by Leonard Sweet

A business executive became depressed. Things were not going well at work, and he was bringing his problems home with him every night. Every evening he would eat his dinner in silence, shutting out his wife and five-year-old daughter. Then he would go into the den and read the paper using the newspaper to wall his family out of his life.

After several nights of this, one evening his daughter took her little hand and pushed the newspaper down. She then jumped into her father's lap, wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him strongly. The father said abruptly, "Honey, you are hugging me to death!" "No, Daddy," the little girl said, "I'm hugging you to life!"

This was the greatness of Jesus. He took people where they were and hugged them to life. That is precisely what we see Jesus doing here in this dramatic passage in Mark 5...

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 Every morning all humans do the same thing. We get up, take a shower, brush our teeth, and then decide what we are going to wear.
Generally in western culture it remains true that "Clothes make the man," or in the name of a popular website, "Clothes make the girl." Got a teenager? Then you know what I'm talking about. Then you know oh-so-purse-painfully how important it is to have the "right look." To wear the "right duds" so you can be the "right dudes." Even if you are not a "fashionista," it is almost impossible not to be influenced by what the current culture says is "cool" (or "hot"). Who doesn't want to "look good" and so "feel good" about themselves?
Every week the tabloids are filled with planted or paparazzi celebrity photos - either looking their best or revealing their worst. But whatever shape they are in, what those celebrities are sporting influences the fashion choices of thousands. Designers count on it. In fact they literally "bank" on it. If someone fabulous and famous wears something, it will sell. The "knock 'em dead" designs on red carpet runways are immediately copied into much cheaper "knock-offs" so that those with a bit of disposable income can outfit themselves like royalty. Even countries without "royal families" have their "royalty."

But while all of us - whether teenager or ladder climbing corporate bureaucrat - think that our clothes lend use power and prestige, the opposite was the case for Jesus in Galilee in the first century...
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 Touch in Church

One of my cyberfriends came across this in a church newsletter called "Touch in Church:"
What is all this touching in church? It used to be a person could come to church and sit in the
pew and not be bothered by all this friendliness and certainly not by touching.
I used to come to church and leave untouched. Now I have to be nervous about what's expected of me. I have to worry about responding to the person sitting next to me.
Oh, I wish it could be the way it used to be; I could just ask the person next to me: How are you?
And the person could answer: Oh, just fine, And we'd both go home... strangers who have known each other for twenty years.
But now the minister asks us to look at each other. I'm worried about that hurt look I saw in that woman's eyes.
Now I'm concerned, because when the minister asks us to greet one another, the man next to me held my hand so tightly I wondered if he had been touched in years.
Now I'm upset because the lady next to me cried and then apologized and said it was because I was so kind and that she needed a friend right now.
Now I have to get involved. Now I have to suffer when this community suffers. Now I have to be more than a person coming to observe a service.
That man last week told me I'd never know how much I'd touched his life.
All I did was smile and tell him I understood what it was to be lonely.
Lord, I'm not big enough to touch and be touched! The stretching scares me.
What if I disappoint somebody? What if I'm too pushy? What if I cling too much? What if somebody ignores me?
"Pass the peace." "The peace of Christ be with you." "And also with you." And mean it. Lord, I can't resist meaning it! I'm touched by it, I'm enveloped by it! I find I do care about that person next to me! I find I AM involved! And I'm scared.
O Lord, be here beside me. You touch me, Lord, so that I can touch and be touched! So that I can care and be cared for! So that I can share my life with all those others that belong to you!
All this touching in church -- Lord, it's changing me!
What was it our audacious friend said so many centuries ago? "If I but touch...I will be healed."

 David E. Leininger, ChristianGlobe Illustrations, www.Sermons.com
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12 Years

Twice in this story Jesus is touched by or himself touches someone ritually and ceremonially unclean but not only is Jesus not contaminated, the ones who had been contaminated to begin with are made holy and whole. Jesus has crossed the boundaries that had once defined the community, has rewritten the rules, and so has revealed a new day. Make no mistake: this story is all about the creation of a New Israel. Mark seeded this story with clues. How long had the woman been bleeding? Twelve years. How old was the little girl Jesus raised? Twelve years. No Jewish person reading this story could fail to see the repetition of the number twelve as a symbol of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Long about the same time that Jairus welcomed his little girl into the world, a women he didn't know began to hemorrhage. For twelve years this woman suffered. For twelve years this little girl grew and became ever-more-dear to her father. Both women were headed toward a rendezvous with Jesus on the very same day. Although their paths to Jesus were as different as could be, both of these daughters of Israel would point forward to the new community Jesus came to build.

Scott Hoezee, The Touch
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The Wounded Healers

With all its imperfections, sins, blemishes, and warts, the Church of Jesus Christ is the intended healer of the world's wounds. Christians are called to be compassionate, wounded healers.

Perhaps, Henri Nouwen, the Roman Catholic theologian, has said this better than anyone else. The author of many books, Nouwen speaks of Christians as "wounded healers" who have compassion.

Compassion is not pity. Pity lets us stay at a distance. It is condescending.
Compassion is not sympathy. Sympathy is for superiors over inferiors.
Compassion is not charity. Charity is for the rich to continue in their status over the poor.
Compassion is born of God. It means entering into the other person's problems. It means taking on the burdens of the other. It means standing in the other person's shoes. It is the opposite of professionalism. It is the humanizing way to deal with people. "Just as bread without love can bring war instead of peace, professionalism without compassion will turn forgiveness into a gimmick."
Ron Lavin, Alone/Together, CSS Publishing Co., Inc.
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 Qualification for the Gift of the Gospel

Jesus came to raise the dead. The only qualification for the gift of the Gospel is to be dead. You don't have to be smart. You don't have to be good. You don't have to be wise. You don't have to be wonderful. You don't have to be anything...you just have to be dead. That's it.

Robert Farrar Capon
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 Priorities

What is at about human nature that makes us put off the most important things until a crisis looms? So often we coast in our relationships until they skid into a crisis. We think nothing of spending thousands on a car and blindly drive it by the homeless shelter everyday. We think nothing of a sixty-hour workweek but can't find time for dinner as a family.

We live lives of loneliness and sorrow because those things that could build our friendships, family, and faith get our leftover time.

 Then, one day it is too late, we have waited too long. We are like the Rabbi who did not run to Jesus until his daughter was "at the point of death [eschatos]."

Take a moment to examine your life today. What is at the "eschatos" - the point of death - in your life right now? What part of your spiritual or relational life is barely breathing? Find ways to make those areas (family, friendships and faith) a higher priority than career and income. Do something different this week. Before scheduling anything else, book time with God, schedule an appointment with those in your own family. Then, after prioritizing God and your family, then set up the rest of the week.

Jerry Goebel, Arise!

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 Our Relationship with God

One of the reasons people tend to see faith as a religion about God instead of a relationship with God is the sense that they are not worthy of the attention of an Almighty God. "My problems are too small for God to care about." or "With all the pain and suffering in this world, why would God care about me?" are a couple of ways people give expression to this sense of insignificance. The sense is the one expressed by our theme title today, "How can one so great care for one so small."

Have you ever felt that sense of insignificance? There have been times when I've gazed into the incredible expanse of a starlit sky and felt ever so small and insignificant. Even our planet is hardly a speck of dust in the vast cosmos.

And yet, the heart of the lesson for today says that God is attentive to the heartache and suffering of all persons, no matter how insignificant they may seem to the world around them.

Religion can get in the way of a relationship with God. Faith is not about rules, regulations and religion. It is about we human beings reaching out to a God who reaches out to us through Jesus Christ who reaches into the pain and anguish of our living. The good news for the people in our scripture lesson is that the barriers all fall away. For the woman, for Jairus and for the little girl - the greatness of God and the good news of Jesus Christ eliminate all obstacles to health and life.

And aren't you glad that Christ cares more about our wholeness and our living than he does about the niggling details of religious convention? When I am in anguish and wish for the presence of Christ, I do not need to worry that I am too great a sinner or that some folks would consider me to be unacceptable -- I know that Jesus cared for a woman who was a social reject and for a little girl that was not among the children of his followers.

John Jewell, Can One So Great Care for One So Small?
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 The Grow in Clusters

Though I have never seen the Sequoia trees of California, known as Redwoods, I am told they are spectacular. Towering as much as 300 feet above the ground. Strangely, these towering trees have unusually shallow root systems that spider out just under the surface of the ground to catch as much of the surface moisture they can. And this is their vulnerability. Storms with heavy winds would almost always bring these giants crashing to the ground but this rarely happens because they grow in clusters and their intertwining roots provide support for one another against the storms.

When we are together, either as a family or a church, we provide this same support. Pain and suffering come to all of us. But, just like those giant Sequoia trees, we can be supported in those difficult times by the touch of one another's lives. The knowledge that we have someone; that we are not alone; that there is someone who is willing to touch us, hold us, keeps us from being destroyed.

Brett Blair, eSermons.com
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Jesus Brings Life

With whom do you most identify in today's gospel? There are plenty of characters here who are being stung by death. There is a woman whose whole life has been caught, dominated by a terrible, life-demanding illness. There is a distraught father. A little girl whose young life is being cut short. There are the baffled disciples, the crowd who doesn't know what to think of all this. Where are you?
And yet, intruding into the story is another face, the strong, live-giving face of Jesus. Mark says that Jesus was forever intruding into fixed, settled, hopeless situations and bringing life. Hear his strong voice speaking over the laments and dirges in today's gospel? Hear him as he calls to the little girl, "Get up!"
 I think he may be calling to you...