The Interruption

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Mark 5:21-43

We all know what it is like to be on our way to do one thing, and get interrupted by another.

Jesus is in just this predicament as he heads off to heal Jairus’ daughter, and suddenly feels someone touch his cloak.

The crowd is pressing in. All attention is focused on Jairus and seeing what will happen next. The woman, an outcast because of her condition, is trying everything she can do not to be noticed. Her hand only lingers for a brief moment. Her touch is timid, almost imperceptible.

Anyone else would not have even noticed it. No one else did.

But Jesus stops in his tracks and asks for all to hear, “who touched me?”

As I studied these words with a colleague earlier this week, I waxed poetically of ministry being all about the interruptions. When I returned to the office and I sat down to settle in for an afternoon of sermon writing—I would not be scrambling at the last minute this week!

Then the phone rang.

God has a way of making sure I get ample opportunity to practice what I preach.

Suffering is always reaching out, seeking God’s healing. And, when Jesus stops and pays attention to the one in need…well, so do the rest of us who happen to be following him.

And what do we see here?

The urgency of the other situation calls them to keep going, the crowd is eager to move on, the disciples dismiss his question. It would have been possible to ignore the moment, to ignore her, to keep walking. But he does not. Jesus makes an effort to look, to see her.

The woman falls at his feet, words falling fast from her lips. While other men in the crowd would shrink back from her in disgust, Jesus stays put and listens. He is not ashamed to let everyone that she has touched him. He is not afraid to be seen speaking with her.

Jesus calls her daughter, and she is no longer a stranger groveling on the ground. He claims her as part of his family.

He proclaims her healing to all. Now, for the first time in years, she will be able to return to the community that held her at a distance. And everyone within earshot, is put on notice of that fact. It is not just the individual that has been healed.

Followers of Jesus: when those interruptions come along, may we all stop for a moment and at the least, try to pay attention to what Jesus is doing.

Pastor Sarah