If you haven’t read some of my past blogs, I have been reading through the Mark and Luke the past 6 months or so. If you haven’t read them recently, I’d recommend it.
So I’m in chapter 8 and felt some deja vu today as the story was a retelling of one in Luke: Jairus’ daughter and the woman with bleeding issues.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story, a man in charge of the town synagogue comes and finds Jesus because his daughter is sick. (Quick Sidenote: for the leader of the synagogue to consult a revolutionary teacher like Jesus could have been seen as him signing on with Jesus which could put him in a bad spot with the government and religious leaders.) Jesus agrees to help and is walking among a huge crowd towards Jairus’ house when a woman who was destitute and internally bleeding (and had been for years) touches the tassel on Jesus’ cloak and is healed. Jesus stops (the tension mounts as the daughter is still sick and dying) and finds out who touched him because power had gone out of him. The woman admits, and Jesus sends her on her way as her faith had healed her. The news comes that the daughter has died, but Jesus reassures the father and heads to the house where he raises the little girl, lifting her up.
Ok, so, purity laws were a huge deal in the ancient world, mostly for health reasons. Someone seems sick, don’t touch them, so you don’t get sick. Or, wash your hands or your body, wait over night and then you can head out back into town. Dead bodies often carried disease, too, which comes as no surprise due to the Ebola situation in Africa. Notice, though, that Jesus is touched by or touches two different women here. In a way, he might have been considered “unclean” by doing this. Instead of being polluted, Jesus’ nature purifies the problem, making it disappear.
I wonder if this is how we as the church should be acting. Christians have insulated themselves, in a way, by creating their own culture and leaving the secular world to itself. We have our own music, movies, fiction novels, etc. And we look out from our bubble and wonder why things seems chaotic. The church has taken the mandate to keep itself pure to extreme levels.
But I see Jesus doing the opposite. I see Jesus facing the sickness, death, and pain of the world and working in it to create new life. Jesus’ mission, and therefore ours, is to spread this new life into the world. It’s a reverse infection. Instead of infecting people with a biological virus that causes damage, our infection is life, new life, and improved life.
I wonder what would happen if we stepped out of the bubble and began facing the culture around us with a mindset of healing, love, and compassion. What would it look like to see the local church begin to interact with the community around it?
(Disclaimers – I have nothing against Christian [insert art form here], and being Christian doesn’t make life’s challenges go away, it simply gives us a new way to approach them.)