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Sorrow and Healing (Pentecost 6, Year B)

June 30 | Pentecost 6, Year B

2 Sam. 1:1, 17-27
or Wis. 1:13-15; 2:23-24
Ps. 130 or Lam. 3:22-22 or Ps. 30
2 Cor. 8:7-15Mark 5:21-43

Among the varied reasons we come to church, we arrive, no doubt, in the hope that what we see and hear and sing, and all our actions, including the most holy moment when we extend our hands and open our hearts by faith to receive the body and blood of Christ — will “lift up our hearts.” We need encouragement. We need hope. We need to sense that our lives rest on a foundation that is sure and certain (the Collect).

The hope we need, however, will never come if our deepest hurts are deliberately obscured or denied. Hope is not born of denial or illusion. So, a measure of attention must be given to lamentation, ailment, and death, not a perverse and obsessive focus that leaves one locked in recycled sorrow, but an attention that allows the truth to be released and opens new possibilities for restoration and life.

We hear the story of a woman who has an issue of blood for 12 years. She has been chronically ill, impoverished by her medical expenses, and daily subject to an advancing disease. She stands in for every person who has ever suffered the pangs of disease and the specter of death, the relentless and slow demise of physical and mental functions. She carries a cross we most fear (Mark 5:24-26).

A leader of the synagogue named Jairus pleads for his little daughter, who is at the point of death. Indeed, death takes what it wants, a 12-year-old girl, and at that moment, a tsunami of grief engulfs a family and community. Jairus’s religious position and piety proved a hollow defense against the final enemy (Mark 5:22-23; 35-38).

We also hear the story of King David grieving the death of Saul and Jonathan in battle. “O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you with crimson in luxury, who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan lies slain upon the high places. I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. How the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war perished!” (2 Sam. 1:24-27). We recall the Lord Jesus Christ, the true man, saying to his disciples, “I am deeply grieved, even to death” (Mark 14:34). We are not yet in that place where mourning and crying and pain are no more. Weeping yet spends the night, and tears fall in the silent, long, darkness.

In all this, there is another mysterious presence, the one whose hem we are bold to touch, the one from whom power goes forth and enters our lives. In Jesus Christ, we encounter an inner and hidden healing. Sometimes, Christ comes as the God who takes our hand and says, “Little child, get up” (Mark 5:41). Sometimes, though rarely, healing may be sudden and complete. The more normal, though no less miraculous way, is healing and a wound in the flesh. We are at the same time whole and broken. God help us to go on! Lift up our hearts and give us hope! For God alone my soul in silence waits.

Look It Up: Psalm 130

Think About It: The risen Lord goes to the depths from which we cry out.


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