Today's Lectionary Text
So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
Faith. Faithful. The woman with a hemorrhage in this passage had faith, we read. Faith so great that merely touching the hem of Jesus’ garment, she believed, would provide healing.
We get a glimpse into the mighty power of God in this event. Apparently the power needed to heal her was an amount so large that Jesus felt it leaving his person. The woman exhibited trusting faith in the power of God. She was sure she just needed a brief physical connection with Jesus to access the healing power.
What about the related word “faithful?” The woman may or may not have been faithful in her day-to-day living. Maybe she followed all the laws and practices of her faith. Maybe she did not. What is clear is that God was faithful.
William R. Runyan’s words in “Great is Thy Faithfulness” (UMH #140) reinforce this truth. Verse 2 describes the dependable pattern of the seasons of the year, as God created them
-- summer, winter, springtime, harvest. The universe -- sun, moon and stars -- and all of nature illustrate how God is faithful and how God’s mercy and love is reliable. Verse 3 highlights God’s pardon, peace and presence. God’s gift of strength for today and of hope for the future are part of God’s faithful nature.
God remains faithful today. What great Good News! Nature and the universe continue to help us know God’s faithfulness. Each day new examples appear. Air still provides oxygen to allow our lives to continue. Calm encircles us daily, if we stop to allow it to do so. Babies continue to be born and children continue to grow, each one a unique creation of God. Another planet has recently been discovered outside our solar system. The list will grow because of God’s faithfulness.\
God calls each of us to have faith in God’s faithfulness. We are called to have faith as great as that of this woman in Mark 5. We need to recognize and put our trust in, as did she, the abundance of God’s power and the caring the Creator bestows on each of us.
The next step, then, is so important. We need to have faith; we need to be faithful as well. Where, today, does God need me to act faithfully? Is it at the grocery store? I could greet the clerk at self-checkout with a cheery voice (and a smile behind the mask). Maybe I could reach the item on the top shelf for the gentleman who needs to do his shopping from one of the motorized carts. Grabbing a box or two of nutrition bars or some canned veggies or soup for a Paxton’s Blessing Box could be how I act faithfully today. Three possibilities just at the grocery store. Wow!
Each of us has some nearby place where we can act faithfully. No excuses now. There’s plenty to be done. Let’s get to it.
-- Dianne Tombaugh
Retired Diaconal Minister
Originally published July 8, 2021
Prayer for Reflection
Faithful God, Thank you for the numerous examples of your faithfulness that appear before me. Empower me to mirror your faithfulness and love today. Strengthen me to share the Good News. In the name of the caring Christ, Amen.
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