Resources for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost
St. Thomas Day - St. Thomas, the Doubter
Prayer for a Heart of Giving (Epistle text):
We give our thanks
to you for the gifts you have given to us -- our life, our family and friends -- time,
talents and material possessions. All we have comes from you. Help us to remember this
always and rejoice in your generosity.
Help us on our
spiritual journey, so that we may constantly renew our relationship with you and all
people of our parish community.
Give us the strength and courage to become better followers of Jesus, to be disciples.
Help us always to hear the call to live the Stewardship Way of Life. Amen.
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Not a Zero-Sum Reality
based on Mark 5:21-43
Rev. Karen A. Goltz
large, Mark’s gospel is pretty linear in its structure. It’s fast-paced, but
it’s linear. Things happen very quickly in Mark; everything takes place
immediately, as soon as, or at once, but it all takes place one thing
at a time. Until today. Today’s reading lumps two stories together,
intertwining them, events of one impacting the events of the other. Why?
What’s so special about these two stories?
They’re both healing stories. No surprise
there: Mark’s gospel is full of healing stories. They’re both about women
being healed—again, nothing remarkable about that. The very first healing
narrative Mark provides is Jesus curing Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever. But
there are differences between the pair, as well.
The first striking difference is the manner in
which the healing takes place. Jairus begs Jesus to heal his daughter, and
Jesus consents. We can only assume that had Jesus said no, Jairus would have
accepted that answer and gone home alone. The woman, on the other hand,
essentially sneaks up behind Jesus and takes her healing like a pickpocket
taking a wallet. Her hope is to remain hidden and anonymous in the crowd, and
only comes forward when it becomes clear that Jesus isn’t going anywhere until
he gets some answers....
The severity of their illnesses is different,
as well. The girl is on the brink of death and time is of the essence; the
woman has been living with her disease for twelve years, and a few more minutes,
hours, days, or even years before Jesus could heal her probably wouldn’t change
her prognosis very much. And finally we have the difference in their ages. The
woman is an adult. Assuming her affliction came upon her in early adulthood,
she’s probably somewhere in her thirties, or maybe forties. The girl is twelve
And that number – twelve – seems to link these
two stories together in a strange way. The girl is twelve years old; the woman
has been hemorrhaging for twelve years. It’s tempting to make the connection
that from the time this girl entered the world, this woman began to suffer. And
once the woman’s suffering ended, so did the girl’s life. Are the two related?
Can it be that the woman could not be healthy as long as the child was alive?
On one level it seems foolish to think such thoughts. On the other hand,
we go there all the time. When something terrible happens, in our
desperate need to make sense of it all, we try to make connections. A star
athlete at the high school is hit by a drunk driver and killed, and some will
speculate that it happened so that the boy’s father can learn to accept and
appreciate his other, non-athletic son, or that it happened so that the drunk
driver will have a wake-up call and straighten out his life
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