All kinds of touching happen throughout this twin narrative. First there is Jairus falling at Jesus’ feet, possibly grasping him in desperation, begging him to “ . . . lay your hands on my daughter.” Then there’s the crowd—the pressing, pushing, jostling mass of people—all touching one another, many possibly trying to touch Jesus. Then there is that show-stopping touch of the nameless woman and the corresponding divine touch upon her body. Might her heart also be touched by Jesus’ tender offer of kinship? Finally, there is the life-giving touch of Jesus as he moves past ritual restraint to touch a lifeless body, restoring a child to her place within the family and the community, restoring a broken relationship, if you will, between a daddy and his girl.

Touch is a powerful parental gesture—for good or for ill. Medical experts who study the phenomenon of touch tell us that this is the first language we learn as infants. If touch is a language, then we should learn it well! We should use it fluently, articulately, and eloquently to communicate God’s amazing grace to people who may not get the message as clearly or as deeply otherwise! To be sure, touch is a culturally defined gesture; touch as a language communicates best when it stems from a heart of goodwill and understanding. And what of touch as prayer? As a chaplain beside the bed of non-communicative persons in the throes of sickness, I’ve often had to resort to the wordless prayer of a gentle touch upon a patient’s hand; even a virtual touch, simply extending a hand toward the person, hoping and praying for that spark of divine energy to do what only God can do.

Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, unuttered or expressed, the motion of a hidden fire that trembles in the breast. O Thou, by whom we come to God, the Life, the Truth, the Way: the path of prayer thyself hast trod; Lord, teach us how to pray (UMH, no. 492).

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 5:21-43

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Lectionary Week
June 21–27, 2021
Scripture Overview

David is remembered in scripture as a mighty king but also as a great poet. Many of the Psalms are ascribed to him. In Second Samuel we find a song of lament over Saul and Jonathan. Saul was violently jealous of David, yet David still honored Saul as God’s anointed king. Jonathan was David’s best friend. David bemoans Israel’s loss of these leaders. The author of Psalm 130, although probably not David, appeals to God in David-like fashion. The Gospel shows the power of a woman’s faith. In Second Corinthians, Paul deals with practical matters, appealing to the Corinthians to send promised financial help to the believers in Jerusalem.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27. What part does music play in your prayer life? Do you sing both songs of lament and songs of praise?
Read Psalm 130. When have you cried out to God from the depths of your despair? What was God’s response?
Read 2 Corinthians 8:7-15. How do you maintain your eagerness to practice your faith?
Read Mark 5:21-43. What has been your experience of God’s healing?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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