Thoughts on Mark 5:21-34
A synagogue big cheese comes toward you, the crowd parts as he makes his way, he falls at your feet and begs you, for his daughter’s sake, to come to his home. She was at the point of death and he asks you to touch her so she would be made well and live. You accompany him toward his home and so did the crowd. In the crowd was a woman who’d heard about you. She wanted to remain anonymous, since her 12-year-straight period put her in the unclean category and forbade her interaction with others. Desperate, she disguises herself and dares to approach you from behind; she figures if she could secretly touch you she would be made well. She had great hope, that even your garments had power to heal. And she was right. She stealthily attempted to steal your power, to take what she needed from you without being known. But you’ll have none of that. You demand she make herself known. Fearfully she comes forward, admits her actions, and the story of her life pours out. She expected condemnation, that was what she had received from the other rabbis, but from you she got compassion and a new identity: Daughter. You listen and return her to dignity and wholeness.
Jesus, you are not a magic wand. It’s true there is power in your name and some use your name to get or give what is wanted: health, prosperity, influence. But that is not your preferred style of relating. You want to know the ones you heal. We cower, attempting to remain on the periphery of your life, afraid of the shame and disappointment that would follow the exposing of our weaknesses and faults. Yet you are not content with such a connection. You ask us to come forward, you invite us to tell you not only what we need, but why we need it. There is a reason we are broken, and alone. We must admit it to ourselves as well as to you. You give us not what we expect, but what we truly need. In a very public way, you call us daughter, honor our story, heal and grant us peace.
In the meantime, the synagogue big cheese remains waiting in the wings.