Nature played a big part in our greeting each other this morning. Everything is unseasonably green, and the fields are covered in colour. Some spoke of the exuberance of nature and how it fights back. Some came with questions about suffering. We reflected that the name Israel means to struggle: life often doesn’t make sense but we can believe in God, follow him and meet life head on knowing that wrapped up in the joy of life is a struggle; we can sit with the questions knowing that the questions are valuable and yesterday’s answers are not today’s. Our faith in God is a call to action, to wrestle with life and God and learn empathy, compassion and generosity.
Some scriptures that might help us to fathom the lectionary readings are: on the faith of the woman; in Isaiah 6:1 we hear of the lord sitting in his temple and the hem of his garment filling the temple and in Malachi 4:2 that the sun of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings, where wings can also be translated hem of his garment, the sun of righteousness being maybe a metaphor for the one who saves. Also if we have problems with God being angry then we can see the scripture as a wrestling with God over his nature as evidenced in the way the community moved from attributing David’s sin to God (2: Samuel 24:1) to attributing it to Satan (1 Chronicles 21:1) as they fathomed the nature of God. As the scriptures progress the wrath of God also becomes more nuanced which, lets face it, it needs to be in our understanding of God in our lives.
Lamentations 3:22-33 …The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. …. Although he causes grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.
…Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me! O LORD, be my helper!”
You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me
2 Corinthians 8:7-15 …but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written, “The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.”
Mark 5:21-43 …Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. … 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 haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. … he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” … he took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). …