Toorak Uniting Church

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The Generosity of Jesus

Mark 5: 21 – 43
Tina Lyndon
28 June 2009

One afternoon I noticed an elderly woman pushing a young woman in a wheel chair, through the sand on the beach at Wilson’s Promontory. There is a picture on the back of the order of service.

People on the beach had helped her move the wheel chair closer to the waters edge where the sand was firmer and for several hours the woman pushed the wheelchair up and down the beach.

Sometimes she struggled to push the wheelchair through the softer sand, but it was obvious that the woman made an effort to please the other woman in the wheelchair. That she wanted her to enjoy herself.

After the sun set, people helped her get it back up over the softer sand onto the river bed and they went on their way.

Today’s gospel is about an older woman and a young woman, who are healed.

The bible has many stories about physical healings.

These healings point to some aspect of spiritual and emotional healing or witness to people’s faith or to Jesus willingness to push beyond social expectations, taboo’s or rules, to heal someone.

Jesus was a Jew. Jews considered people as a whole person.

It was the Greeks who tended to consider people from a spiritual, emotional, physical or mental perspective.

If we can consider ourselves from Jesus point of view, this means, if we are disabled or physically imperfect, we are still a whole person.

Jesus reaches out to us, as we are.

This means stories of physical healings in the bible point to a deeper healing.

A healing which breaks us free from whatever chains us in our soul, from whatever prevents us from embracing life.

Sometimes the only obstacles between Jesus and ourselves are the ones we believe in our mind, such as fear and doubt.

The woman who haemorrhaged must have believed and had the conviction that she would be healed. She pushed through the crowd and all the obstacles that stood in her way, to reach out to Jesus.

Jarius was an important man, the head of a synagogue, who came and found Jesus. He humbled himself, falling to the ground in front of everyone, begging Jesus to heal his beloved daughter.

He too had conviction and reached out.

He could have given up many times.

When his brother told him his daughter was dead.

When he was overcome with grief and tore his robes.

When he got to his home and the women were wailing loudly and tearing their clothes and people laughed at Jesus.

But Jesus was there for him and encouraged him to put aside his fears and believe.

When Jesus went up to his beloved daughter and said: "Talitha cum" which actually means: "Little lamb, arise".

When she did arise, Jarius was healed too.

Deep within his soul there would have been a major shift.

We can look back and reflect on these stories.

The raising of Jarius daughter has connections with the resurrection of Jesus.

It points to the gift of life that we are offered.

There may be times when our faith was in a dark place and hanging by a thread.

We may experience being filled with self doubt.

Some of us may have faced a long period in life where things seemed without hope, where we became used to living in this negative situation and forgot how to reach out and claim new life, like the woman who haemorrhaged for 12 years.

I often wonder why the only stained glass window in this church is the healing of Jarius daughter. You have a photo of it on your order of service.

The story speaks of pushing through fears, expectations and barriers to obtain healing.

Today’s gospel offer us hope.

The stories have the potential to pull us out of where we normally inhabit and question us and confront us.

They reveal the grace of Jesus and his costly generosity.

Jesus who waits for us to reach out to him or seek him.

The stories point towards the life Jesus offers us.

The woman who haemorrhaged and Jarius daughter could now bear children and be life bearers in their community.

The two women on the beach reached out for life and had a joyful experience. They found that sacred moment, of oneness in generosity.

Generosity, that big heartedness and kindness which goes beyond normal expectations and surprises us with joy.

Jesus in his generosity makes our needs, the norm of his action.

The stories we heard today tell us not to give up, not to believe the worst and not to listen to our fears.

Jesus calls us to be free of fear and to believe.

The good news of today’s gospel reveals Christianity is not about staying in a small box defined by fear.

It’s countercultural.

Jesus generosity in giving all he has, has set us free and offered us the life we seek.

© Tina Lyndon, 2009

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