Homily: June 28, 2015

PROPER 5, YEAR B; Rev. Phil Boelter, Vicar It’s a tale of two healings-

One imbedded inside the other.

 

First Jairus, the synagogue leader falls at Jesus’ feet

And begs him to come and heal his little daughter.

 

While Jesus is on the way,

A woman who had suffered for 12 years

from what we used to politely call “female troubles”

touches the hem of Jesus garment,

and is healed.

 

Then,

Jesus arrives at Jairus’ house

And finds the daughter already dead.

In spite of the bystanders’ cynicism,

Jesus takes her hand

And raises the young girl up to life.

 

Two questions confront us this morning:

why does Jesus heal others

and how does Jesus heal others?

 

First, the easier question- why does Jesus heal?

We can answer this question from the healing of Jairus’ daughter.

 

Jairus turns to Jesus in desperation,

Begging him repeatedly.

COME, heal my daughter,

Come, HEAL my daughter.

Come, heal MY DAUGHTER.

 

Jesus takes the time to go out of his way with Jairus.

Part of me says that Jesus would have to be stone hearted

not to go along.

 

But in reality-

Jesus faced a choice here-

He’d spent all night and all day

Healing, casting out demons,

Stilling storms.

 

I would say Jesus deserves a break.

But Jesus keeps going on and on and on

like a Spiritual energizer bunny.

 

Why does Jesus follow Jairus home?

Simply put, because that’s who Jesus is.

 

He cannot NOT reach out a healing hand.

The core of his very being calls out

to help and heal those in need.

 

That caring and the healing power are

At the core of who Jesus is.

 

If we know nothing else about Jesus from Mark’s gospel

we know this:

He cared about people.

 

Mark’s gospel is not long on theological discussion-

There’s not a lot of labels and discourse-

Mark doesn’t use a lot of theological brand names for Jesus

like Messiah, God Lord or some such-

in fact throughout Mark’s gospel

from beginning to end

Jesus keeps saying “shuush”

when people try to pin a theological label or title on him.

 

At the very end of our gospel reading today,

Jesus once again,

As he often does,

Resists being tagged publicly as a wonder worker or a messiah.

 

Jesus and Mark together conspire to resist labels.

In its place there is very active real time action.

 

All of the first ten chapters of his ministry in Palestine

from his baptism in the Jordan

til he breathed his last and said "father forgive them"

can be summed up

With a single phrase:

simply “He went about doing good.”

 

But, how did this Jesus operate?

 

The second question of how Jesus heals is answered best

in the story of the woman with the hemorrhage.

 

HOW exactly does Jesus heal?

 

Mark says that the woman touched the hem of Jesus garment

And was healed.

 

Almost comically,

Jesus turns around and asks in a stage whisper

“who touched me?”

 

A ludicrous question in the midst of a crowded street.

 

But Jesus already knows what happened,

because in that simple touch his own inner power,

His will to heal

leapt out like a spark and cured the woman who touched him.

 

There are layers of irony here.

First, a woman with an affliction like this was forbidden

By levitical law from touching anyone or anything

in the community.

 

She was considered by many in that place and time

To be impure, unclean, sinful,

not worthy to be part of the community.

 

But somehow

that woman knew God’s healing power came into her innermost being.

 

Yes, it came from Jesus.

But until it entered HER own life,

HER heart,

HER body,

Healing was just a distant dream.

 

She,

Like Jesus himself,

Found the resource of healing within herself-

And it jumped like an arc from a car battery

To a jumper cable.

 

The result?

Her internal engine was started-

She went her way-

Healed, forgiven, renewed.

 

She went confident of her identity in God

As God’s child,

God’s chosen,

like Jesus himself.

 

Tht is how Jesus heals-

By sharing of himself-

And enlivening us within.

 

How does that healing come to us?

It comes within us,

Inside us.

 

Today GLBT Pride Sunday,

we celebrate such healing out here on the streets of Minneapolis

And in urban centers great and small.

 

We remember that day

A generation ago,a motley crew of gay men,

Closeted businessmen young office workers and drag queens,

young students and retired urban city dwellers.

 

Inspired and strengthened in their innermost being

This unlikely spiritual army

turned a small dimly lit bar called the Stonewall

on a side street of lower Manhattan

into an explosive place and time of personal,

Healing empowerment.

 

They resisted the labels and the handcuffs of Mayor John V Lindsay’s

Clean up campaign to rid the city of those evil citizens

A spark rose up from inside themselves,

Not unlike the spark of self worth

That healed the woman in our story,

And raised Jairus daughter up from the deas.

 

I would say,

a divine spark burst forth

And the world has never been the same.

 

Controversial?

Yes!

 

But no more so than Jesus’ acceptance of the hemmoraging woman,

Or touching a defiled teenage corpse and raising her up

And handing her back to her astounded,

And grateful Father.

 

Life- changing?

Yes, again!

 

The gay, lesbian bisexual transgender queer or what have you

movement

Has opened eyes and lives

to the truth of the self worth

Burning within all of us.

 

Not just a single minority,

But to every single human being

That healing power is within us.

 

Every single human being,

Straight or gay,

Young or old,

White, African, Hispanic Asian, all under the rainbow arc,

who has ever, is now, or will ever draw a breath.

 

We affirm our worth and inner power of healing,

We affirm its source in the indestructible power of God within.

 

Long ago,

In the 1980’s

When AIDS began to sweep across this this nation

As a part of a church delegation

I attended a launching of candle boats on the pond in Loring Park.

 

Visually,

Each one of those candles represented the lives of young men

Whose light had been snuffed out.

 

But those lights also represented

As they sailed across the pond

The healing light which all of us in our communities of faith

So desparately needed within us

To face the scourge of AIDS.

 

We still need it today.

 

As we the boats floated out across the water

We sang the song feminist song writer Holly Near

wrote on the assassination of San Francisco Supervisor

Harvey Milk in 1978.

 

“We are a gentle, angry people

and we are singing, singing for our lives

 

We are a justice-seeking people

and we are singing, singing for our lives

 

We are young and old together

and we are singing, singing for our lives

 

We are a land of many colors

and we are singing, singing for our lives

 

We are gay and straight together

and we are singing, singing for our lives

 

We are a gentle, loving people

and we are singing, singing for our lives.

 

Amen.