June 30, 2024
In 2 Samuel 1.17-27 — David’s song honoring Saul and Jonathan. “How the mighty have fallen.”
Psalm 130 — Out of the depths I cry to you… There is forgiveness with you…. My soul waits for you, more than those who watch for the morning… With God there is steadfast love.
2 Corinthians 8. 7-15 — Paul encourages generosity… so there is “a balance between your abundance and their need.”
Mark 5.21-43 — Jesus heals the woman with the low of blood and Jairus’ daughter.
Faith is not all happiness and warm fuzzy feelings. Here’s a Psalm that speaks to that, one of those Psalms that are laments, that arise out of the gloomy, broken, brokenhearted places in our lives—with trust in God. Such poignant faith lives in that sweet line, “My soul waits for you, more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.”
We all have gifts to offer and we need others’ gifts. The batter and the pitcher both need each other to play. We also need other people’s needs. There is no “donor” or “recipient,” but various parts of a body working together sharing needs and resources. The heart needs the lungs, and the lungs need a place to put all that oxygen. How can we love without someone who needs our love? Jesus wouldn’t feel “power flow out of him” if it weren’t for the need of the woman who touched him. Other people’s “needs” are not lack, but the opportunity for connection.
Again a story within a story, this one with some real tension between the stories. Jesus is on the way to an emergency—and stops to have a conversation with the woman. She tells him her story. He listens. The clock is ticking. We hear the ambulance siren in the background… and Jesus just stands there listening and talking. Again, what a supreme non-anxious presence.
He asks “Who touched me?” Sensibly, his disciples remind him that pretty much everybody has been touching him. But Jesus has a particular kind of attentiveness, a sensitivity to where it hurts, to who is hurting. He’s not just speaking of physical touch but spiritual connection. Even in a thronging crowd he can tell when someone “touches” him, when someone opens up to him, when the possibility of mercy emerges. Pray for this kind of awareness.
The woman reaches for the hem of Jesus’ garment. That would be the prayer tassels that hang from the edges of his tallit, his prayer shawl. What she accesses for healing is the power of his prayer. Marks says he feels power flowing through him. Imagine that prayer—yours as well as Jesus’—is a way of tapping into God’s miraculous, life-giving power, like plugging into an electrical grid. Prayerful living is that in which God’s power for life flows through us, even beyond our conscious intention.
Jesus says “Your faith has made you well.” He knows little of her religious conviction; only her willingness to reach out. Faith is not certainty, but reaching out. Even in the gloomy places like those of Psalm 130, we reach out, waiting for God more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who wait for the dawn; and that reaching out is faith.
The woman has surely been isolated from others and from the synagogue because of her “uncleanness.” Think of how many kids of healing she experiences: in her body, her relationships, her self-image, her spirituality, her relationship with God… The healing Jesus offers isn’t just medical cure; it’s wholeness. Even when the wounds and weakness of of our bodies aren’t cured we can still be made whole.
Maybe Jesus knows, by some omniscient sense, that Jairus’ daughter isn’t dead. But maybe he’s just aware that with God all things are possible.
When he says she’s not dead the mourners laugh at him. These are folks who are paid to mourn, and here they are chuckling on the job! Sound improbable, but we do laugh at those who offer us hope in the face of despair. We make fun of the too-hopeful, as a way of dismissing them. But often the joke in on us.
Usually Jesus speaks in riddles, parables and questions. He seldom commands. But when he does, it’s usually to heal. “Little girl, get up!” “Be opened!” “Peace, be still!” “Lazarus, come out!” Jesus’ teaching is invitation, not commandments. His command is life.
Both the duration of the woman’s disease and the girls age are given as twelve years. Hm. Is there something wrong with the Twelve Tribes? Is our religion sick? Maybe dying, needing to be revived?
Call to Worship
Leader: God of life and wholeness, we come to you broken, in a broken world.
All: We reach out for the hem of your garment.
We come to you longing for healing.
We open ourselves to your mercy.
You come among us full of grace.
We feel your spirit move in us, and we are healed.
And so we bow before you, and in gratitude, humility and wonder
we tell the story of your grace.
Leader: Living One, you are the blood that flows in us.
All: You are the power of birthing.
When the flow of life is not well in us, we turn to you.
We reach out for the hem of your garment.
The power of life flows through you, and we are made whole.
We thank you. We praise you. We worship you.
Leader: Creator, Mystery, we are in awe.
All: Our hearts unfold like flowers before you.
Christ, Love, we rejoice.
Our hearts fill like rivers with your presence.
Holy Spirit, truth of life, we come with brokenness and joy, with despair and hope.
Our hearts are wrenched open and we hold them in stillness for you.
Enter, and give us new life.
Leader: Creator of all things, you who have made us in your image:
All: Heal us and make us whole.
You who call the Church into being, you our Spirit:
Heal us and make us yours.
You who are the mother of all peoples, and who watch over the nations:
Heal us, and make us one.
God, you are our healing and our hope. We wait for you.
Alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!
Collect / Prayer of the Day
God of love, even as the world presses in on you with all its wants and demands, you walk among us in peace. You radiate your mercy and grace. We open ourselves to your love. We listen for your Word to enter us and change us. We reach for the hem of your garment. Enter our longing, and heal us. Amen.
Gracious God, Jesus went among the people healing them. We too have been touched by his grace. We give you thanks and open our hearts to you. Bless us in our worship that by your grace we may reach out and touch the hem of your garment and be made new by the power of your spirit. We pray in the name of Christ. Amen.
Gentle God, we come before you with every kind of wound and brokenness, with illness and sadness, struggle, guilt and weakness. We reach out to touch the hem of Christ’s garment. May the power of your Holy Spirit flow forth and heal us, bless us, make us whole, and draw us together as one body. By your Spirit in us, may your will be done, and your grace be praised. Amen.
God, Spirit of Creation, Spirit of Healing, we open our hearts to you. Your Word is near to us, within us and among us. We listen for your voice, for your healing power, calling us to wholeness, calling us to life. In the silence in our hearts, speak to us. Amen.
Gentle, life-giving God, we have been unwell and you have healed us. We have been broken and you have made us whole. Yet at times we don’t know it was you who touched us. Now we reach for the hem of your garment. Let your power of life flow; let our powers of life be restored; call us back to life in your Spirit, in the healing presence of Christ. Amen..
1. From Psalm 130, abridged, paraphrased
Out of the deepest places in our hearts we cry to you, O Lord.
Hear the silent cries of our souls.
God, if you kept track our sin, who could survive? But you forgive abundantly, and we are deeply grateful.
I wait for you, Holy One. My soul waits. In your Word is my only hope.
My soul aches for you,
more than one in a long night awaiting morning,
more than one awaiting morning.
O people, hope in God, for with God there is steadfast love,
and with God there is power to redeem.
God will redeem us from all our unfaithfulness.
2. Psalm 130, a paraphrase
Out of my sea depths
a cry, a wordless noise.
You hear, like a sound through the earth,
Like my spine hears me.
If you measured, I would disappear.
All of us would be too small.
But you allow us to fill you.
So we fill you.
I hold open a space for you,
emptiness in me that widens
like sky waiting for dawn,
like the whole sky waiting,
and the dawn, rising,
filling the whole sky.
We, your people, of your making,
even, even in our clutter,
we are your open space
where your light appears.
In your spaciousness
we become new.
(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)
We need not understand… only touch the hem of your garment.
Your power moves in ways we do not know.
Your wholeness flows into our hearts.
You touch us, and raise us to new life.
We await your touch.
Prayer of Confession
The grace of God be with you.
And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
Gentle God, we confess that we are in need of your healing and your forgiveness.
For all that is broken in our minds and bodies, we ask your healing.
For all that is amiss in our choices and our relationships, we ask your forgiveness.
For all that works against life and blessing in our hearts, and in the world,
we open ourselves to your transforming grace.
Heal us, forgive us, and make us new. Amen.
… Silent prayer… the word of grace
Response / Creed / Affirmation
We give our hearts to God, creator of all, the Holy Beloved, who makes everything whole, and whose only will for all creation is healing and redemption.
We follow Jesus, who embodied God’s transforming power among us in his love, his teaching and his healing. In his death and resurrection we witness God’s healing and redeeming power over all brokenness, even sin and death. The Risen Christ lives among us still with power to heal and bless and raise all people to new life.
We live by the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s creating power in us. As the Church, the Body of Christ, we are called to be a healing presence in the world for individuals, groups and all humankind. We trust the power of forgiveness and the reality of resurrection; and we devote ourselves to lives of healing, justice and reconciliation in the name of Christ, for the sake of the redemption of the world and the coming of the Reign of God.
e give our hearts to you, O God, Creator of all that is and all that is to come: you make all people in your image and clam us as your people.
We trust you, O Christ, who walked among us in Jesus: healing, teaching, setting us free. You created a new community of love, reconciliation and justice. You were crucified and died; and you are crucified in all who suffer injustice. Yet you rose again, and all who suffer rise with you. By your living presence among us you lead us in your way of peace.
We follow you, Holy Spirit, for you guide us in the way of love, courage and beauty. In you we live in unity with all living beings and extend your compassion to everyone, especially the marginalized and oppressed. We accept the power you give us to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves. Trusting the power of forgiveness and the mystery of resurrection, we participate in the Empire of Love that Jesus opened to all people, that we may know eternal life now and always. O God, we are your people. Fashion us in your image. Amen.
[After the introduction, the body of the prayer may be read responsively with the presiding leader(s) and congregation, or by the leader(s) alone.]
Leader: God is with you.
All: And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One, our God.
It is good and beautiful to give God our praise.
God of love, we give thanks,
for you create the world as a flowering of your goodness.
You set free all your children who are detained and imprisoned.
You walk with us in new directions, healed, made new, and full of your light.
Your mercy flows freely, and we open ourselves to its light.
We hunger for your grace, and feast on your generosity.
Therefore with all Creation we sing your praise.
[Sanctus, spoken or sung:]
Holy, holy, holy One, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
Hosanna in the highest.
[or alternate version]
Blessed are all who come in your name, and blessed is Jesus, your Christ.
He taught and healed, and made his grace available to all.
He reached out to those who were excluded,
and to those who were denied mercy he offered mercy.
For assailing the structures of injustice he was crucified.
But in love you raised him from the dead,
and he lives among us and his love and presence guides us.
[The Blessing and Covenant…] *
Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
As often as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection until he comes again.
Remembering these, your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
[Memorial Acclamation, spoken or sung:]
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Dying, Christ destroyed our death. Rising, Christ restores our life.
Christ will come again in glory.
Pour out your holy Spirit on these gifts of food,
that those who receive them may experience your love and grace.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ,
healed and restored to life,
and radiant with you grace
for the sake of others who reach out for mercy and healing.
In our compassion may your glory shine.
[Spoken or sung]
* The Blessing and Covenant
[I usually don’t print the words. I want people to be looking at the bread, not their bulletins.]
On the night in which he gave himself for us
Jesus took bread, blessed it,. broke it, and gave it to his disciples,saying,
“Take and eat; this is my body.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,
blessed it with thanks and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink of this, all of you. This is my blood,
poured out for you and for many, in a new Covenant,
which is the forgiveness of sin.”
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.
Prayer of Dedication / Sending / After Communion
Gracious God, we thank you for
the mystery that you give yourself to us /
this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.
As Jesus, hurrying to an important mission, paused to attend to a woman in need, so fill us with your Spirit that we may pause and tend to those around us. May your power flow through us, not by our effort but by your grace. May we be attentive in the midst of chaos, confident in the face of death, and healing in the midst of anguish, by the working of your love, in the name of Christ. Amen.
Gracious God, we thank you for
the mystery that you give yourself to us /
this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.
You have healed us. You have raised us from the dead. Send us into the world, not in our own power but in yours, with your grace in our hands and hearts, empowered to offer your grace to all who hunger for it, especially those who are denied mercy in this world, in the name of Christ and the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
(Click on title to view on the Music page)
Jesus, My Healer (Tune: Fairest Lord Jesus)
Jesus, my healer, come to me and touch me;
lay your hand upon my soul.
All of my woundedness gently embrace and bless
and, though I’m broken, make me whole.
Source of our healing, God, our Re-Creator,
your deep joy is to raise and bless.
Your faithful promises and all our trusting hope
are stronger than our dark distress.
Spirit of healing, move among your people
to bear the blessing that flows from you:
with tender love to bless the world’s brokenness
and share the grace that made us new.