“Negativity Begone!” Tuesday Meditation. 6/9/20. Alan Neale.
Trinity Church, Newport, RI
Mark 5 35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.
After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Today is the second part of the story; earlier in chapter 5 Jairus had implored Jesus to come heal his daughter. On the way Jesus meets a thronging crowd and an importunate, chronically sick woman touches his cloak with faith that she will be healed. In the eyes of the disciples, Jesus performs some magic trick and asks, “Who touched me?”. He knew that touch had been motivated by need and faith and hope. The woman is healed and now Jesus continues on his way to the house of Jairus.
Before ever Jesus can breathe another calamity confronts him… they are told the daughter is dead. The harbingers of bad news then charge Jairus to stop bothering Jesus. The word they use suggests profound vexation, extreme annoyance even to the point of being skinned alive. O when, o when will they and we learn that we are bidden, we are created to carry our concerns to Jesus in prayer. Oh it is so painful to hear that a parishioner has passed through tough times; and when I say, “Why didn’t you let me know?” there comes the sad response, “Oh we know you’re busy and we didn’t want to… bother you.” My reply is often, “I am occupied but never too busy” and I hope that prevents further silence. Friends, “are you weak and heavy laden? Take it to the Lord in prayer…” often, everywhere, anyhow.
Jesus “overhears” this solemn message; the word suggests a casual almost accidental event but surely not so with the Master. He is it who listens acutely to all the sounds, the sighs, the gestures we make… and then makes His diagnosis for restoration.
The solemn words to Jairus are ones we often need to hear (day by day)… (v.36) “Do not be afraid, only believe”. Do not allow reasonable and rational fear to cause you to withdraw, to be paralyzed and struck by fear… only believe – with mind and heart and voice entrust yourself to the Lord, let yourself be persuaded to believe… engage in this process, ever started never completed.
In AA circles fear is often made an acronym… False Evidence Appearing Real. Oh there is enough false evidence for thousands as Jesus and his group approach the house. There is an uproar and a tumult, there is profound lamentation (uncontainable, audible grief) and there is a wailing such as is compared to a war-cry and the clanging and clashing of cymbals.
Here indeed we are in need of selective hearing; all too often the world hurls at us such noise that we neglect the constant, affirming, rescuing voice of God. Maybe sometimes we hear, and not imagine, the ridicule of the world as we, in the power of the Spirit, maintain with hope that love and grace will triumph?
And now the healing… though not a resurrection to a never-ending life, it is a resuscitation, a recovery of life (as Lazarus, so the little girl).
Note the stages in this healing: 1. That which is negative and of despair is put aside. 2. Jesus comes to where the child is lying. 3. Jesus touches the child and “take hold” describes no limp wrist shake but a firm, bold grasp that expresses “I rule. I am Master. I prevail”. 4. He speaks the words Talitha Koum in dialect readily understood by the girl and then 5. He sees to her total needs for exercise and for nourishment.
Dear friend, think on these stages and apply them with thought, prayer and reflection to those areas where you crave the Lord’s healing… in person, in family, in church and so much so in nation.
Make time to hear the word of the Master “I rule. I will prevail.”