Reading Large Chunks of Scripture
This chunk of scripture contains some of my favorite stories. It's all about power - who has it, who doesn't it. It's about a reversal of who's in and who's on the outside. Jesus heals a foreigner, or Gentile, of not only a demon but also total social exclusion and isolation. He then restores a woman with a horrible case of menstrual bleeding to inclusion within her community and a newfound clearly established status as not only "clean" (according to the ancient Israelite purity laws) but as a beloved daughter in faith. She's part of the family. He then brings a dead girl back to life, challenging the cultural notions of life and death - of human existence at its core. It's then that he's rejected by his own people, his signs of power and grace go unrecognized, even rejected, for his notion of community and inclusion is foreign to those of his native culture. By being alive, in every breath, he subverts, transforms and makes whole the brokeness of the world in which he was born and lived.
We're quick in our secular western culture today to want to justify away with a supposed scientific worldview, or deny the power and possibility of miraculous healing. Yet we see increasingly that there is a transforming power in prayer, positive thought and rest (no, I'm not advocating a rejection of medicine, etc.). What's remarkable about Jesus for me in this scripture chunk today is that he's not only about healing bodies, he's about restoring the larger body, making the whole person free, recreating community, inclusion and solidarity where there was before division, exclusion, and slow death. How are we called, by our transforming experience of God's healing power and presence in Christ, to be agents of change, healers in our own right working for the redemption of the earth, human community, our economic systems, and our family units?