Sunday at Scarboro – July 1, 2018

Worship Start Time: 10:30 am
Theme: Summer Church

Come to Scarboro this summer to worship together! Service stays at 10:30 am this year. Come and grab a coffee at 10 and catch up with your friends and neighbours. There will be more coffee, tea, and conversation in the Marilyn Perkins - Memorial Hall following the service.

The children's theme this summer is "Exploring Spirituality through Science & Play" - come explore!

SAVE THE DATE: Pancakes will be served next Sunday at 9:30 am, with worship to follow at about 10:15. Be there or be square!

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July 1, 2018: Psalm 130 & Mark 5.21-43

Rev. Erin Klassen

 

Are you all familiar with the term “compassion fatigue”?

It is that feeling of being overwhelmed with the hurt that is going on around you.

People who experience compassion fatigue might have a sense of hopelessness, or a decrease in happiness, stress and anxiety, sleeplessness or nightmares, and a negativity that you just can’t shake. It can make you feel like you can’t focus, or you just can do anything right, or that will make a difference.

 

It is sometimes also call the “cost of caring” for folks facing emotional pain.

It can make us seem like we don’t know what to do about what is happening in the world around us. Like we don’t even know how to talk about it. Thankfully, the Scripture gives us the those tools. Jesus knows the cost of compassion, and he shows us the way. The psalmist knows our pain, and gives us the words.

 

Out of the depths, I cry to you, O God.

I chose to use the Psalm as well as the Gospel today, because it felt so very relevant to what is happening in the world around us. We are, like many folks, deeply saddened by the level of fear-fuelled hatred in the world. We are in the depths. So, we cry out to God.

But, what is our cry?

Is it for justice?

For healing?

For peace?

 

In our passage from the Gospel today, we have two people who cry out from the depths. And they cry out for restoration, for healing.

 

What we have here is sometimes referred to as a Markan sandwich. It is a story within a story. It is a story about status, and power, and people, specifically women, on the margins.

 

Jesus has calmed the storm and gone across to the other side. There he is met by Jairus. This is significant, because as a leader of the synagogue, Jairus was someone with status who throws himself at Jesus’ feet and begs for help. Jairus is someone with status, enough status to have a name in this story. He would have had access to resources, he could have hired doctors, and yet he seeks out a common faith healer, Jesus. He falls at Jesus’ feet in an act of humility, to do this in front of a crowd would signify that he is placing himself as inferior to Jesus. He is a frantic father, desperate for his child, and willing to give it all up if only to receive Christ’s mercy. He does the extraordinary in even asking.

From out of the depths, I cry to you, O God.

 

Also in the crowd is a woman, who at some point had status. She had enough resources to have spent them all seeking healing and restoration. She has been bleeding for as long as Jairus’ daughter has been alive. If you ever wondered how someone could hemorrhage for so long, she has essentially been menstruating for that period of time. This bleeding leaves her ritually unclean, and therefore unable to participate fully in the life of the community. She is exhausted, frustrated, and desperate for relief. She reaches out and touches Christ.

Now, touching violates the boundaries of the body, physically, and socially while this is an extraordinary act of faith on her part, it is also highly improper.

From out of the depth, I cry to you, O God.

 

In the crush and chaos of the crowd, Jesus, feels this. He feels the power, the life force go out of him. In doing so, he identifies with this woman, who has had her life force restored. He is not angry that his boundaries have been crossed. He has compassion, he calls her “daughter” indicating that she is part of his chosen family. She is made well physically, and socially, she is restored to life and to community.

 

Before he comes to Jairus’ home, word comes that the daughter has died.

 

Jesus, replies, “Do not fear, only believe.”

He sends the crowd away and continues on to the home of the leader of the synagogue.

There he finds a new crowd, deep in grief and lament.

From out of the depths, I cry to you, O God.

 

Jesus tells them that she is only sleeping.

They laugh at him. This part often gets overlooked, but I think it is important. As he puts himself out there, working for restoration and healing in his community. He is ridiculed and laughed at. We like a more sanitized version of this story, but even Christ, the one we strive to follow, did not have it easy.

 

Nevertheless, he perseveres.

He goes to the little girl and just as the woman did to him, he reaches out. He crosses the boundary of what is proper, and in doing so, does the extraordinary. He tells her to get up, and she does. Then he tells her family to give her something to eat. In doing this, he restores her to life and to community. He brings her back into her family, physically and socially.

 

What I love about our Scriptures for today, is that we come full circle. The story within a story, mirrors itself. Giving up on power and reaching, being restored to life and to community.

 

Not only that, our Gospel story mirrors our Christian story, crucifixion and resurrection. There is blood and suffering, on the journey toward the cross, then death and grief, and finally restoration to life and to community.

 

With that in mind, here’s a fun fact from my colleague the Rev. Liv Gibbons:  tradition names the hemorrhaging woman "Berenike" or Bernice, which means "bearer of victory". And she's tied to St. Veronica (the latinized version of Berenike), who is said to have wiped Christ's brow on the way to the cross. The tending of one another's bodies — an irregular bleed, the sweat of agony — is really beautiful.

 

The way in which this Gospel story illustrates our Psalm is also incredibly beautiful. It begins with a heartfelt cry from the depths of alienation and despair. In that crying and reaching out, individualism gives way to a community wide appeal for hope. We know that if God held all of our wrongdoings against us, there would be no one who could stand before God. But, we also know that this is not the case. Instead, we know that there is forgiveness, which leads us to hope in the power of redemption. Not only do we worship a God of infinite power, but as the Gospel shows us, one of immeasurable compassion and tenderness who is sensitive to our sufferings.

 

This God that we worship, has a heart for the wounded and the wounding, and longs to restore us all to community.

 

So, if you are crying out from the depths, keep doing that. Reach out.

If you are not in the depths, look around the chaos and commotion to see who is.

Who is hurting.

Who is longing for healing.

Who is longing for restoration.

 

See those on the edges, our kin: LGBTQ+, women, those who are racialized or indigenous, immigrants refugees.

 

From out of the depth, I cry to you, O God.

Let us cry out. Reach out.

For we know that there is cause for hope.

So let us work toward the redemption, restoration, and inclusion of all.

Even ourselves.

Thanks be to God.

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