We have noticed in the last few weeks that in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus often tells us about the kingdom of God, and then shows us about the kingdom of God.
So, some weeks ago, Jesus told us about the realm of God, in that, the realm of God, the power of this dreamer for wholeness, this beauty that lies beneath every atom of creation, the wind of the spirit, this life. Realm of God is like a sower who casts seeds, and some of the seeds fall on rocky ground and gets snatched way. Some of the possibilities of God’s healing falls among weeds and get choked off by many competing concerns and busyness of our days. Sometimes the seeds, the hope of God springs up quickly but when times get tough, dies in the blazing hot sun. But sometimes, when that seed falls on good soil, it comes up, thirty times as much effort as you put in it, sixty times, a hundred times the good that you originally set out to do.
Kingdom of God is like a mustard see, a little bitty seed that you plant it grows into a great big shrub, an ornery weed that imposes itself where we’d rather it not, that takes over everything.
Jesus tells us about the realm of God. Then Jesus shows us.
So last week, Jesus is in a boat at night with the disciples and a storm comes up. They thought in those days that storms were caused by demons stirring up the waves and howling in the wind. Jesus stands up, calms the sea, muzzles the demons.
We may have times in our lives when the sea howls around us, when we are almost singing in the chaos. Power of God can calm those waves.
Then Jesus encounters a man with a demon. Jesus demands to know the name of the demon and the demon say s, ”Legion. Like a Roman legion, like the Roman army, so many demons. So Jesus throws out this demon, ha ha ha, there goes the Roman army into what’, a herd of pigs, gross, disgusting, unclean pigs. That’s pretty funny to think about the Roman powers, who could crucify you for saying the wrong thing, being thrown in to a heard of pigs.
In other words, God’s power is bigger than Roman oppression. God’s power is bigger than military occupation or political oppression or economic bondage.
Sometimes we feel bound up in economic systems that twist us around in ways that make no sense. God’s power is greater than they are.
Now, Jesus encounters illness and death. God’s power is greater than those are, too.
For some time now, also, Jesus has been gutting heads with the religious authorities of his day. They can’t get over the fact that he heals on the Sabbath and eats with tax collectors and sinners.
A man named Jairus comes up to Jesus. Jairus is a prominent figure in the village. He is a prominent member of the village, the leader of the synagogue. One of the religious authorities, maybe even one of those who have been criticizing Jesus lately. But now, Jairus’s daughter is ill. You know how a father will feel when his child is ill. Anyone even an eight year old, who has a beloved child in their life, and that child is sick, really sick, we will do almost anything to help her.
So Jairus, prominent member of his community, falls down on his face before this wandering preacher. He begs, repeatedly that Jesus come lay hands on his daughter, who is at the point of death.
Jesus follows him, the crowd pushing up against him from all around.
And now comes this woman who has had a hemorrhage of blood for twelve years. If you had a flow of blood of any kind, you were considered unclean in Jesus society. People would not want to touch you because if they did they would have to do some special washing. It was a pain.
So this woman would not have been touched very much at all for twelve years. Twelve years, no hugs.
She used to be rich, but not anymore because she’s spent all her money on doctors. You couldn’t see a doctor without real wealth because you couldn’t afford it. Now she’s a nobody.
So she says to herself “If I just touch the hem of his robe, I will be made well.” So she sneaks up behind Jesus. Look at how rude she is, she does not ask as Jairus does, she just takes Jesus’ healing. She sneaks up behind him, in this crowd and press of people, completely disregarding the sensibilities if her neighbors, who will be rubbing up against her from all directions, she doesn’t care. She is intent on God’s healing, not on what everybody else thinks.
She touches Jesus. Immediately the healing goes out of him. Notice, the healing goes out. Often we will think that God’s realm, God’s kingdom has to be protected, maybe behind the wall of the church, kept pure, unsullied, safe. When, in fact, the kingdom of God is anything but safe. The kingdom of God spreads. The kingdom of God is contagious.
Power goes out. Jesus turns around. “Who touched me? Disciples say Jesus, people have been bumping up against you all day. What do you mean, “Who touched me?” But the woman knows what he means. And now she does the sec her second courageous act of the day. She is terrified, but she tells the truth anyway. That’s courage. When you’re terrified, but you do what needs to be done, tell the truth anyway.
Now she gets far more than she bargained for. Jesus says “Daughter.” Now, not only is her body healed, but she is a part of Jesus’ family. So if you ever get sick, especially for a long time, don’t ever forget. Don’t ever forget that you are a daughter or a son of the dreamer of wholeness, of the beauty behind all things, of the wind, of the wife. That’s you.
While Jesus is still speaking, Jairus’s people come and says “Your daughter is dead, why trouble the Teacher any further? “
Maybe if Jesus hadn’t stopped to deal with this rude woman, he might have got there on time.
But Jesus says to Jairus, “Do not be afraid. Just believe.” That’s the Gospel of Mark in one sentence. “Do not be afraid. Trust me.”
Jairus trusts him. They keep going. They get to the house. All the professional mourners are there, weeping and wailing, as is appropriate for such a tragic death in such a prominent family in the community. Jesus says “It’s okay, she’s just asleep.” They laugh at him.
Now Jairus is in a difficult position. If the village is laughing at Jesus, then he, Jairus might lose status by sticking with Jesus. Jairus might lose his position, his respect in the community. But Jairus does stick with Jesus anyway.
Jesus throws everybody out except the mom and dad, and Peter, James, John and Andrew. Then Jesus reaches out his hand to the little girl, just as the woman reached out her hand to Jesus. Jesus takes her hand, which is yet another crashing of boundaries. In ancient Jewish society you were never, ever supposed to touch a dead body. Jesus crashes over the boundary between life and death. Get used to it. It’s going to happen again.
Jesus takes the little girl hand, and, just as he will take your hand and my hand someday, he says “Talitha cum,” that is Aramaic, Jesus’s native language. Very few phrases are recorded in the original Aramaic, so power was the impression here, that whoever saw it ust have set it down. Amen is also Aramaic, it means this is true, honestly, really. “Talitha Com,” says Jesus. Little girl, arise, Hey, it’s time to get up.
That’s what Jesus will say to you and me some day. Little girl, little guy, time to get up.
Little girl gets up, She’s twelve years old. Walking around, Jesus says, Give her something to eat.”
Jesus’ power is greater than death.
So when the whirlwind howls around you and the waves threaten to swallow you in chaos, When we feel twisted and bound up by economic and political systems that make no sense, but that break people and creation,
When sickness seems to drain our lives away, when death looms, and it will sooner or later, remember, O daughters and sons of the dreamer, of the beauty of the wind, of the life, remember what Jesus says,
Don’t be afraid, trust me.
Don’t be afraid. Trust me.