After yesterday’s double dose, this one comes very late – in my defense I had a game of crazy whist to distract me, followed by a lunchtime appointment, then a long phone call, followed by the girls’ dance class…
Reading: Mark 5:1-43
Mark offers a double dose of drama in these two miracle narratives, taking exorcism to new heights and healing to new extremes. The politically charged name of legion and the image of pigs hurtling down a cliff to a watery grave shows the scope of this healing for Mark; this is about Jesus bringing freedom not just to an individual but to an occupied nation. The next story joins two women through their need of healing and the twelve years that are mentioned for each of them. The two stories remind me of the political nature of our proclamation, and the personal.
We talk and sing in worship of a kingdom or reign of God which has one ruler – our allegiance to that reign trumps our obedience to the one in which we live, whoever we might vote for. Recently in Australia, some Christians have taken part in #lovemakesaway protests, being arrested to draw attention to the plight of children in immigrating detention. They’ve been arrested for ‘sitting in’ at the offices of federal MPs and been jailed, if only briefly, to show that their freedom is tainted by these children’s imprisonment.
When Jesus heals the demoniac, he gets up close and personal with someone the rest of the island thinks is a dangerous madman; after all, they tried restraining him with everything and nothing worked. When he feels the power leave him in the healing of the hemorrhaging woman, he stops to speak to her, even though she would have been shunned by her community. Finally, when Jesus goes to the house of the little girl, he reduces his entourage to just three, ducks inside the house (making himself ‘unclean’ in the process), and takes her hand in his before gently saying, ‘get up little girl’. The personal and the political go hand in hand for Jesus, something I’ll keep in mind as I meet with representatives of West Papua and the Uniting Church later this week.