Today's Lectionary Text
When they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. When the people who lived in that place recognized him, they sent word throughout that whole region, and they brought to him everyone who was sick. Then they begged him that they might just touch the edge of his clothes. Everyone who touched him was cured.
My wife and kids take jabs at me every now and then for something I did the day our son was born in 1999.
My wife had given birth to him just after noon on that Tuesday, so they were spending the night in the hospital. Our then 3-year-old daughter was home with my mom, who had come to help out.
On the drive home, I noted the lack of a line outside the movie theater to see the just-released first movie in the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy, “The Phantom Menace.” Having checked it out with my mom to make sure all was well at home, I stopped and enjoyed the late-night movie.
Yes, I am still that big of “Star Wars” nerd. And, yes, I was that excited to see the movie.
We experience that kind of excitement in many ways these days: when the newest iPhone is available for sale, when tickets go on sale for major sporting events or concerts, or, of course, when blockbuster movies are released. We’re so excited that we can’t wait to be there — wherever “there” happens to be.
I wonder if that is what the atmosphere was like around Jesus when people found out he was in their area. In today’s passage, Jesus had recently fed more than 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. He had just walked on water and calmed the winds.
So when Jesus and His disciples landed the boat at Gennesaret, people recognized him and spread the word. He was famous!
Of course, the people who flocked to Jesus weren’t there for as shallow of reason as a movie or a concert or sporting event. They sought healing. So people brought the ill and infirm to Him, and scripture tells us that all who touched him were cured.
Few, if any, of us have the spiritual gift to heal people of their illnesses and injuries just by people touching our cloaks. And few of us are famous. Luckily, we don’t need to be either of those things.
Though it would be tremendously helpful, Jesus isn’t getting out of the boat and walking near them these days. Or is He?
It’s our job — yours and mine — to serve the hurting today in any way that we can. Some are doctors, nurses, paramedics and other frontline health-care workers. Many of us are not.
But we can be that person to sit and listen to someone who is hurting and show love to them — a hug, a shoulder to cry on, someone with whom they can talk without judgment.
We may not be able to heal them or fix their problem. But we can let them know they are loved, and they are not alone.
As Jesus was recognized in Gennesaret, may we strive to be recognized as followers of Christ, as the hymn suggests, by our love.
— Todd Seifert, director of communications
Prayer for Reflection
Loving God, help us to be so much like Jesus that people in our communities see Chris through the love that we show others. In the name of the Great Healer, Amen.
This Week's Lectionary
This Week's Liturgical Color