Daily Devotion 30 October 2020

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Mark 5: 24b-34 ‘Healing by Relationship’

A large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ 29 Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ 31 And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?”’ 32 He looked all round to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’

4th Century wall painting in the Catacombs of Marcellinus & Peter, Rome.

As I write this, we are experiencing renewed restrictions of action and movement as a result of the increase in the number of those infected by the Covid-19 virus. Many people at this time feel isolated, lonely – rather like the woman in the story. She was an outcast, ceremonially unclean according to Levitical Law, which cut her off from relationships and from life. She felt unvalued, her self-esteem had gone and even though in middle of crowd, felt utterly lonely. She’d no thought of a personal meeting, let alone any relationship with Jesus – just to touch the edge of his garment was enough. Perhaps she wanted to remain at the edge, slipping back into the anonymity of the crowd?

There was no magical flow of healing power from Jesus. What happened was not an involuntary dispensing of healing but his response to her isolation and her profound need of relationship. Jesus drew attention to her in the crowd and her healing came through a personal relationship with him.

Please don’t think I’m about to advocate us breaking social distancing rules which are essential for our safety! There is a message in this passage for us that goes beyond the literal. I believe it’s quite simply this: that our ministry of love and care in Jesus’ name is not dependent upon physical contact! It can take the form of acts of kindness, letters, phone calls, kind words and so on. It is, rather, about relationship. Our mission as a Christ’s people – his Church – is to remind others that everyone is special, and to make God’s love real in any, and every way that we can. As John Bell writes:

‘To the lost Christ shows his face; to the unloved He gives His embrace;
to those who cry in pain or disgrace, Christ makes, with His friends, a touching place.’

Prayer:

Gracious God, may we recognise the gifts that you have given us,
and use them to continue our Lord’s ministry of love,
to reach out to all who are in need and who call upon us.
For the sake of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Barrie Tabraham.
Image freely available online.

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