Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Week of June 27, 2021
Scripture: Mark 5:21-43
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, "If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well." Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, "Who touched my clothes?" And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, 'Who touched me?'" He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."
(Mark 5:24-34, NRSV)
A first person imaginative re-telling of this story:
There were so many people, but by that point I didn't care. My son was 12 years old, almost a man, and I had never stopped bleeding since his birth. Twelve long years of shame, hiding, being ostracized. No temple, no gatherings for me. Just life alone, coping as best I could.
I knew the doctors would be no help but my parents insisted. They were embarrassed and wanted things back how they used to be. Their "treatments" almost killed me, but I had to pay for them anyway, and that was it for my small savings. It was hand to mouth after that.
I had been hearing stories about the wandering healer. A man of God, they said, but I didn't even care – I just wanted my life back. He was traveling through town and people were coming up to him and begging to be healed. I was watching from a distance and I could not take my eyes off him. I kept expecting him to be impatient – he was hardly able to move at all for the press of people – but, no, he spoke to each person who approached him, and with some he cradled their face with his hands as he spoke – oh, the memories that stirred in me! To be touched like that!
I knew I could not possibly be that brave, but I also knew I was going to approach him one way or another. What did I have to lose? I put my head down and pushed through the crowd until I was just behind him, then I dropped to the ground, crawled forward, grabbed the hem of his garment and squeezed my eyes shut for just a second. I let go immediately and the crowd surged forward, but a few paces on he stopped.
I heard him ask, "Who touched me?" Everybody was touching him; what was he talking about? I wasn't paying attention, though – I was still on my knees, halfway up from crawling, and I was feeling really strange. It felt like there was cool water washing over me, again and again, each surge leaving me feeling stronger and cleaner and more whole. He was still asking who had touched him – he seemed to sense my healing taking place – so with unexpected bravery I stood up, pushed my way through the crowd, and fell at his feet, shaking with shock and gratitude. I told him everything, right there in front of all those men, and he smiled at me and extended a hand to lift me to standing. We talked for several more minutes, and then he cradled my face with his hands and said, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."
That's it. That's my story. I was healed, and he was the one who made it happen. My life was never the same again. I will be forever grateful.
Heal us, Emmanuel. Heal us. We need you so badly. Amen.
Lyricist and Poet
Christ United Methodist Church
Photo: Manuel Darío Fuentes Hernández / Pixabay