Today’s Scripture Readings:
1 Kings 8: 1-7, 9-13, Psalm 132: 6-10, Mark 6:53-56
I find these two readings very impressive. They are filled with excitement and celebration and joy.
In the reading from Kings all the various parts of the Hebrew nation are gathering to celebrate the new Temple that Solomon has just completed. Priests, ancestral leaders, tribes and all the people have come to Jerusalem and they are sacrificing sheep and oxen that are too many to count. Here is the Temple that David had wanted to build but Solomon has finally completed and everyone wants to be part of it. This is the place where God will reside. It says to every Jew, God is here in our midst. The God of the covenant, the God of the ark and their journey from Egypt is now here in Jerusalem their capital city. God resides with them, lives with them and therefore is available to them. To use the words of the New Testament, God is “at hand.”
This same flavor is present in the Gospel. Jesus arrives at Gennesaret and people recognize him at once. What’s more they don’t just keep it to themselves and crowd around to see or talk to him but they take off to bring other people who are sick to be near him. Wherever he goes, people who are hurting come to him for healing. People are brought on stretchers and laid out on the ground so they can touch his cloak. People are excited that he is now here and available and they come to seek healing. And Mark says, “All those who touched him were healed.” What could be more exciting than that? People were excited because the presence of Jesus meant they could be healed. Just as the Israelites were excited to have God present in their midst through the temple, these villagers had something to celebrate.
My question is, “Are we that excited?” Do we see the possibility of healing available to us in Jesus’ presence? We know that sometimes amazing miracles have happened when people’s physical sicknesses have been healed. But have we considered the healing that can take place by reaching out to Jesus with less obvious emotional or anxious needs. The key is reaching for Jesus, seeking to touch him. How often are we afraid to ask for God’s help or help from another person? Wouldn’t you think we would be a lot more excited if we believed Jesus could make a difference? So what do we believe about Jesus and the presence of God being right here in our midst? It’s why we need to talk to each other about our faith and our experience of God because on our own we probably can’t be sure. But if someone came running up with a stretcher excited to take us to Jesus for healing, wouldn’t we go? Sometimes we just have to be taken by someone else. We need to hear another’s story. Perhaps once we have had the healing Jesus can give, we would be excited too?