Today is Sunday the 27 June, beginning the 13th week of ordinary time.
The Dunedin Consort sing Erbarme dich from Bach’s St Matthew Passion. ‘Have mercy, my God, for the sake of my tears. Look here, heart and eyes weep bitterly before you. Have mercy.’ As you sit here now, what are the sorrows and pains you are carrying? What is hurting or troubling you? Right here, even here, God is present – a God of mercy, of compassion and love. For a moment, place those troubles – and place yourself – in God’s loving hands.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Mark.
Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, "If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well." Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, "Who touched my clothes?" And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’" He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."
The woman had suffered greatly for twelve years. “She had spent all she had” in search of a cure. She had tried everything, but was no better. In fact she was getting worse. For a moment, try and imagine what it was like for her, her suffering, her desperation….
Not only was she physically unwell, but according to the Law, she was considered unfit to worship God and unfit to be with others. Just think for a moment how that rejection and isolation from other people might have felt, too.
Having borne all this for years, she turns to Jesus as a last resort. Having tried every other cure that the world has to offer, she finally turns to him. As you listen to the reading again, imagine this scene taking place, and notice how Jesus responds to her.
When this woman falls down before Jesus and tells him the whole truth, the voice she hears is one of understanding, acceptance and healing. Speak to Jesus yourself now. What understanding or acceptance or healing do you want to hear from him? What ‘whole truth’ do you want to tell him?
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.