2 Samuel 1:1-27
Do you know what this is? It’s a pinwheel! So, how do these things work? Yeah, you blow against one side, and it moves. There are some big versions of this that people have used for centuries to provide energy for their lives. One is a wind mill—these were used on farms all across America to bring up water for cattle and farm homes. Another is a water mill—often used to create energy to saw lumber.
But they aren’t used in quite the same way anymore because they aren’t very efficient. Now we have turbines. What makes wind mills and pinwheels and turbines go around and around? Air! The wind moves, and the blades spin. Do we ever run out of moving air? No. Another source of energy is the sun. Do we every run out of the sunlight? No—though, sometimes it seems like it when the clouds are over us for days at a time. Another is moving water. And another is the heat coming from the center of the earth.
All of these are resources that produce energy without using them up. They never run out. Isn’t that cool?
Today, we heard about two sick people who needed Jesus to heal them. One was a little girl—only 12 years old. She was about to die, and her father came to ask Jesus to come heal her. The other was a woman who had been very sick for 12 years. She was desperate and just wanted her life back. While Jesus was on his way to visit the girl, the woman shoved and pushed her way toward him just to touch part of his robe. When she did, she was healed.
And then, Jesus got word that the girl had died. And everyone probably thought that not only was it too late, but that his healing powers had been taken up. He proved them wrong and brought the girl back to life, too.
Like the wind and sun and water, Jesus’ powers don’t run out.
Let’s pray. Gracious God, help us trust your renewable source of love and grace. When we are afraid it might run out, remind us that there’s enough of you to go around. Amen.
Two healings—one, the daughter of an important leader in the synagogue; the other, a nobody woman who had been dealing with her illness for years, was destitute, and her life was literally flowing out of her. Two women—one, just ready to come of age for marriage and birth-giving; the other, no further option for either. Two approaches—one, asking permission for Jesus to heal and giving up when the daughter dies; the other, brazen and desperate enough to launch herself at him just to get a grip on his cloak.
At times of great disaster medical personnel are trained to practice triage. To decide who is most in need of medical attention and care. The injured are tagged with tape. Green for not serious. Yellow for serious. Red for critical. Black for terminal. They are prioritized to see who will be dealt with first.
In those situations, status doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what color you are, what religion you are, how rich or poor you are, or even what country you come from. It doesn’t even matter if you’re the cause of the trauma or an innocent bystander. Medical personnel look at the injuries only.
But in other situations, we tend to factor in those other elements. It’s as if we get to decide how deserving someone is. We talk about who deserves governmental assistance and who doesn’t—in education, in farming, in social assistance, in welfare, in healthcare. Should someone who smokes get as much assistance as someone who doesn’t? Should someone who works get more than someone who doesn’t? Should schools that struggle with high drop-out rates get as much assistance as schools which are ‘successful?’
Should a woman who is clearly a mess be given priority over the child of an upstanding leader? Maybe—maybe not. And yet, this woman was so desperate that she worked up her last bit of energy to grab at the only hope available to her—Jesus. And, it says, he felt the power come out of him.
As I told the kids, it wouldn’t have been uncommon to believe that healing powers were limited. If this woman had stolen his power, there clearly wouldn’t be enough for the girl. And what right did she have? She hadn’t even asked. She didn’t wait in line. And she clearly wasn’t as important as Jairus. She crossed boundaries and barriers in a last ditch hope for healing—for acceptance—for life. She had nothing left to lose.
And then there was Jairus. Also desperate, he had gone to the one man his colleagues were skeptical of. He also crossed boundaries in an attempt to save his daughter’s life. And then someone else came along and took what was rightfully his—what he followed the rules to receive. And now, his little girl is dead. How dare this woman interfere? How dare she interrupt? How dare she strip his child of life?
When we’re afraid and sad and desperate, we so quickly go to passing the blame—pointing to someone else for the bad that has happened. But that’s the beauty of the gospel—the beauty of Jesus. He is for everyone. He always has enough. He looks at Jairus with pity and compassion and says, “Do not fear, just believe.” And off he went to raise the girl from death.
Do not fear—just believe. Just believe that we do not have to do evil in order to preserve good. Just believe that someone else doesn’t have to give up for us to have what we need. Just believe that we don’t have to live in fear for others to have what they need. This is the belief in abundance, not scarcity. Scarcity says, “Give me mine first and you’ll get what’s left.” Abundance says, “You take what you need. There will be enough for me, too.”
Friends, we’re living in a time of scarcity. We are afraid of what we don’t know, of what we can’t control, of who we don’t understand. We are afraid that someone else is going to get more, going to get what they haven’t earned, going to get what is rightfully ours. We are afraid of color and culture, of organizations and uniforms. We are afraid of our own shadows. We are afraid, and we are angry. And it’s time to be healed.
In today’s gospel there are two healings—one, awaiting Jesus to take her hand, to hold onto her and call her forth; the other, tired of waiting, grabbing onto Jesus for dear life. Two women—one, a daughter, clearly known and beloved; the other, ostracized, belittled, and turned away, and only now called ‘daughter.’ Two people from different backgrounds, different ends of life, different social statuses, different directions—brought to wholeness by the God of abundance, the God for whom healing and love and grace never run out.
That is the healing we need so desperately. We need to be made whole. And whether we grasp at it like a woman in her last efforts at what seems hopeless, or we beg for it like a father pleading for his child, or we wait for it like a little girl who is on the brink of death, Jesus has enough to heal us all.
Pastor Tobi White
Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church