Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lent Bible Challenge | Day 20
March 19
Luke 8:40-55

This is one of my top five Jesus stories. A story sandwiched in another story. Jesus heads out to heal the dying daughter of an important, nearly like a member of aristocracy, man in society. Along the way he stops to heal, confront and liberate a nameless woman excluded, abandoned and forgotten by society because of her sickness. Menstruating for 12 years she must live on the edge or margin of society because her physical state makes her "impure" according to the Jewish religious laws. As such she can't enter town, can't ever touch anyone because she would transmit her uncleanliness to them (kind of cootie style). Jesus heals her - her desperate hope and naked faith bring her wholeness (which is the word I prefer for salvation). Jesus liberates her: asking her identity, singling her out in the crowd as whole and then by publicly calling her daughter. He then continues on to the home of Jairus to heal his daughter, who seemingly dead and absent is brought back to life and once again made present. If we're called to live out the messianic project of Jesus, to make God present in our world by doing what Jesus did - which doesn't mean miraculous healing - but more likely radical acts of liberation: including the marginalized, naming the un-named, reclaiming the forgotten, making whole those who are broken - then we do so not simply to repeat a pattern, but rather because faith in Christ points us to the end: the promise in the Revelation parable that there will be no more crying, tears, brokeness, exclusion....that we all will be brought up in to the future project of God. We live into that hope. We live from that hope in our world today.

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