Reflection for Sunday, July 1, 2018
Psalm 30 – Joy comes with the morning after a night of darkness.
Gospel Reading: Mark 5: 21-43 – Jesus heals a woman and a young girl.
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable to you, O God, our rock and our redeemer…
Today’s reading from the gospel of Mark is a healing story … actually it is two healing stories that are wound together as Jesus goes about his daily ministry of spreading God’s love in the world. This passage is found just after the story of Jesus stilling the storm on the Lake of Galilee that we heard last Sunday. Jesus is able to calm the forces of creation, heal a woman who simply touches his robe and bring a young girl back from the brink of death. Mark gives us a sense of the mysterious and awesome power of God’s love as it is manifested through his son, Jesus. We come to learn once again how God is with us in all the circumstances of our lives. Sometimes we know it instantly, and at other times, it is only with hindsight that we notice it. God’s grace impacts our lives always whether we choose to see it or not.
There is wonderful Ignatian spiritual practice entitled Finding God In All Things. It is rooted in a growing awareness that God can be found in every one, in every place, and in every thing. When we learn to pay more attention to God, we become more thankful and reverent, and through this, we become more devoted to God and more deeply in love with our Creator. This practice offers us an opportunity to reflect on where God was present amidst our joys and sorrows throughout our days. It helps us to heal from the many deaths we experience in our lives as we find God with us in and through all things.
Life is alive with death … the idea that death always casts a long shadow into life … a shadow that darkens our lives as we well know with sickness, disease, fear, and scandal or one of the many other ways that it blights and discourages and dismays. Death comes in many forms, and it can dishearten us …dampen our spirits … and rob us of joy.
In our gospel story, we find people who are in this place where their lives are alive with death. Jairus, a man of power and a religious leader, is afraid that death has come to claim his young daughter. Then before Jesus even gets to visit this girl, he is interrupted by a desperate woman … a woman who is suffering from an affliction that made her an outcast in her society … that made her dead to her community. All of these characters turned to Jesus to find healing in the midst of their despair … their weeping turned to joy as Jesus reminded them that God’s love was with them all along.
In our psalm, we heard these words, “Love withdraws when we close our hearts, yet ever awaits an open door. In the evening we may weep, yet joy comes in the morning.” The good news is that joy will return. The shadows of the night will slowly become the brightness of the morning with time and faith.
I would like to share this short video clip of a love between a husband and wife … a love that shines … the story of Bill and Glad’s love … “What is Love?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwAmi8onVVc
Wow … this story is such a fine example of the healing presence of God’s love in our lives. Healing is about allowing ourselves to enter into the darkness knowing that God is with us … it is about being open to God’s love being manifested in us … the place where our faith will actually make us well … remembering that wellness comes in many forms.
Glad was filled with fear when she received an Alzheimers diagnosis and Bill just threw his arms around her and told her that he would care and love her all the more …
Bill knew in his heart that God’s strength would support their journey through the tears to the joy … from death to new life. The bicycle that he designed was perfect … it was a vehicle of God’s grace for both of them to travel through this challenging time together.
As Bill so aptly says, “Love compels me to do what I do … if we had a world and a community where people were loving God with the love of God it would be like heaven wouldn’t it?”
Yes, if we were loving each other with the love of God it would be heaven on earth … we would be finding God in all things including our love for the world and community. What a great privilege it is to love in God’s world. May we do so.