A Story About Jesus
So much is happening so fast. Sometimes it feels almost impossible to keep up. As we navigate these challenging times, there are all sorts of Pastoral questions that I have. Who is being left behind and forgotten in our crisis responses? How are those who are out of work managing? What about people who live alone and closed off from everyone? Is everyone getting the medical help, attention, and food that they need? Are people taking unnecessary risks with their health? Amidst these urgent concerns there are also more subtle, deeper concerns. How are we coping with depression, anxiety, fear, and loneliness? What about people whose self-worth is ripped form them as they struggle with being unable to do what they feel is their vocation? How will we work from home and be a teacher/parent/entertainer/event coordinator for our kids?
It is hard to know where to begin. There are answers. They may not be easy answers that wash all our worries away in an instant, but they exist. But in these times, I find it better to connect people with a person. With Jesus. It is only in developing deeper connections with Jesus that we find the answers and help that we truly need (even if they are not the responses that we desire or want).
So, let me tell you a story about Jesus. On one of Jesus’ journeys he was walking along a road and all around him was chaos. People were pushing and shoving. Yelling to get Jesus’ attention. Everyone wanted something from Jesus – most of them an urgent or quick healing. It was all the disciples could do to stop the crowd from trampling Jesus. I am sure that you can picture the scene in your mind. In the middle of all this, a desperate woman who had been suffering for years risked her life to try and touch Jesus. She had been declared an unclean person and was forbidden by law from touching anyone (she most likely lived with the fear of immediate stoning if she did). You can imagine how desperate she was to risk everything by squirming her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of Jesus’ cloak. As she did, she was healed. Immediately Jesus noticed. He stopped everyone and asked, “Who touched me?” The disciples incredulously wondered “Is he serious?” Everyone was touching everyone in this mess. But Jesus noticed. He immediately began to speak with this woman. Acknowledged both her need and her value.
Sometimes it feels like we are living in chaos. That there is no rhyme or reason to what is happening as everybody around us is pushing and shoving and screaming for what they want. This story helps us to see and know that Jesus sees. Jesus notices our struggles. We may not get the answer we want (not everyone was healed that day). But we are not ignored. Jesus will stop and talk with us if we want. God’s schedule is never so filled that God does not have time for us. This story also reminds me that what we need most is a connection with Jesus. A life altering relationship that changes our perspectives so that we move away from being the people that clamor to be the center of attention to be the very hands and feet of Jesus – extending God’s love into our broken world. Just like Jesus did.