Lord Jesus Christ,
You call us to come
To be with you,
And to learn trust, faith.
By your Spirit help me
To see you,
To hear your voice in the midst of trouble.
Help me to follow you in all of life,
To walk in the joy and freedom of the resurrection,
Indwelt and led by your Pentecost Spirit.
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost: Week 8 (in ordinary time)
This week the lectionary guide takes us back across the lake to Capernaum. As the boat draws into land a great crowd is there and gathers around Jesus as he steps out onto the shore. Very soon we become aware of a man pushing his way through the tight press of people: Jairus, a leader of the synagogue in this coastal city. Distraught, he falls at the feet of Jesus and begs him, “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.” Overcome with grief and anxiety, he repeats what he has just said again and again. Jesus hears the pleas of this distraught father, and moves through the crowd to follow Jairus to his house.
There is a delay on the way there: Jesus stops to tend to the deep needs of a woman who also needs care and healing. While Jesus is still assuring her of healing and restoration, messengers arrive from the house of Jairus, saying, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” In response, Jesus assures Jairus, “Do not fear, only believe . . . . The child is not dead but sleeping.” Those gathered outside and inside the house laugh in utter disbelief. But Jesus simply ushers the people outside who are weeping and wailing so loudly. Our lectionary guide allows us to follow Jesus as he takes the troubled father and mother, Peter, James, and John into the room where the girl is laying.
As we watch, Jesus walks across the room and takes her by the hand, saying, “Talitha cum; little girl, get up!” At this touch and word from Jesus, this twelve-year-old girl gets up and begins to walk.
Jesus does speak of death as sleeping (see John 11:11). For him physical death is not final, especially in light of what he knows God is about to do through his death and resurrection. Jesus will defeat death and rob death of its power to hold us captive. Physical death, until Jesus comes again, is a passageway into a greater sphere of life and God’s kingdom. Our body may “fall asleep” but our soul leaves to be with God. And at the time of the great resurrection, our bodies will be awakened and transformed (1 Corinthians 15:53-57”). This is the great hope in which we live and engage life in this world.
It may be as you indwell this passage, that you discover an invitation to engage in a personal way. Maybe you get in touch with a part of your life, some place within yourself, which seems to have died. Possibly there has been a difficult or traumatic happening somewhere in your life experience which consciously or unconsciously caused you to shut a part of yourself off, to discount and hide it deep within the “house” of your soul. If you sense that this could be so, Jesus does hear your plea to come into your “house” and to enter that “room” where this part of yourself has been sleeping. It may well be that you are not atall sure – that other “voices” within you argue and discount the idea of Jesus coming to awaken what is sleeping.
Be present as Jesus attends to these “voices”, and then as he walks quietly into the “room” where this part of yourself has been housed and thought to be dead. Notice how Jesus approaches this part of yourself, listen to what he says, and what he may do.
At the end of this gospel narrative, Jesus tells the mother and father to give their daughter something to eat. In what way might you be invited to nourish this part of yourself which Jesus is restoring to life?
Prayer before reading:
Lord Jesus Christ,
You come to us
In the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Help me to be aware of how you come,
To be hospitable to your help,
And to your leading in the way of Jesus.
Season of Pentecost: Week 8
- 6/25 Monday: Mark 5:21-34
- 6/26 Tuesday: Mark 5:35-43
- 6/27 Wednesday: Psalm 30
- 6/28 Thursday: 2 Samuel 1:1,17-27
- 6/29 Friday: 2 Corinthians 8:7-15
- 6/30 Saturday: Mark 5:21-34
- 7/1 Sunday: Mark 5:35-43