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Sunday, June 12, 2022
Today’s Scripture Reading | Matthew 9:18–26
While he was saying these things to them, suddenly a leader came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples. Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from a flow of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that moment. When Jesus came to the leader’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. And the report of this spread through all of that district. (NRSV)
To be a five-year-old meant, among many other experiences common to childhood, skinning one’s knee on all sorts of surfaces. From concrete (falling off a bike without training wheels), to hardwood (sliding across roller rink floors), and anything in between, the world presented a variety of ways to collect “ouchies.” Perhaps there was no greater solace, when breathless from heaving sobs over a bloodied and bruised knee, than having a beloved grown-up kneel and offer rescue in the form of comfort: “Oh my, that really hurts, doesn’t it? Let’s get you cleaned up . . . There. May I kiss it and make it better? Yes? There you go—all better now!” By acknowledging and being present with us amid our woundedness, while also offering salve, compassionate grown-ups showed up in our lives as safe havens.
The instincts of the leader of the synagogue, and of the suffering woman, to yearn for Jesus’ touch in seeking resurrection and healing strike me as, fundamentally, very similar to those core childhood experiences. Childlike in their vulnerability, these individuals turn to Jesus, trusting in his presence and his touch to revive and to heal. Bodies that were once without breath, or were hemorrhaging blood, were restored to health in the presence of Jesus—a safe haven and compassionate healer into whose hands vulnerability and brokenness could be placed and transformed.
What is at stake for us, today, in daring to draw near to Jesus and to entrust our deep woundedness to his care? Like the figures from Matthew’s account, we can take comfort in knowing that Jesus’ presence in the face of our suffering means we are not abandoned or forsaken.
O Holy One, as we reach out to you, may you meet us with your healing presence, and may your grace be a salve for all that is tender and broken within us. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Written by Nancy Benson-Nicol, Associate Pastor for Caring Ministries and Spiritual Formation
Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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