This weekend the Gospel is about a great dad, named Jairus, who begs Jesus to heal his young daughter. I love this story for so many reasons, the faith and love of the father most of all. The way Jesus deals with the skeptics. The little bit of Aramaic (I presume...) that they put in there for some unknown reason, just another little Gospel mystery.
We also hear parenthetically, the story of a woman who is healed of a chronic illness. Again, a story of great faith and courage. She is an example to all of us about trusting what we say we believe.
I have two other stories of great courage and faith that I have been keeping in my heart this week. One is personal, the other belongs to us all.
Last week we all were shocked, saddened, by the terrible event in Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina. I wonder how much more brutality our hearts can absorb? As I was preparing to come to work in the parish last Sunday morning, the news was reporting that the families of the murdered victims and the congregation at that church were speaking out with love and forgiveness in their hearts for the young man who committed this crime. What I want to say is that their forgiveness was more shocking to me than the murders. I think we have become accustomed to all the violence in our society. We are bone weary from it all. We have no defense against it. Except to love. I am amazed that there are people for whom seeking revenge is not their first action! These parishioners truly are living out what they pray about each week. Their faith is real, solid and strong. In the face of their witness, I am humbled.
Then my sister told me the story of how my beautiful, awesome, lovely 14 year old niece was bullied by a classmate last week. This classmate, for whatever reason, felt the need to put my niece down in public, to try and embarrass and shame her. As an adult, I know I have been on the receiving end of this bullying in professional circles. This is what my niece did: she approached the bully in the lunchroom, very clearly said she didn't appreciate that the bully had been speaking poorly about her behind her back, and told her she should stop that behavior. When the bully tried to protest, my niece simply turned away and said, "I know what you did, I don't want to discuss this any further." Wow! I am amazed at my niece and her courage to approach the bully, confront her and then be done with the drama. I need to learn from a my niece how to be that brave!
I need to learn from the people in Emanuel AME church how to be forgiving.
I need to learn from Jairus and his daughter, and the woman with the chronic illness, how to ask for healing and be ready to receive it.
What do you need to learn from the Gospel or from our world this week? What is God trying to teach you today?