Tending the New Creation – Healing the Wounded Soul
We don’t know her name. The Bible only identifies her by the problem she had. She’s not Isabella, Doris, or Alison. She is the woman with a problem that the experts couldn’t fix.
Have you ever had a problem that felt so big it swallowed up your identity? At times like that you probably find it easy to understand why the psalmist cried, “my God, my God why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me…?”
We learn that the woman is drained of everything because the problem has lasted so long. Finances are gone. Relationships are gone. Her children can’t hug her and her husband can’t even hold her hand. This woman is down to her very last bit of hope. That’s when she hears about Jesus and decides she must see him.
If you’ve got a problem that is bigger than what you can fix on you own – you can’t write a check and make it go away – you can’t simply hand it off to the next person and walk away – well, then you are in just the right place for God. Having hit rock bottom – crawling on the ground at the feet of those who didn’t want to be around her – this woman reaches out with one last prayer, “If I can just … touch …” You know the rest of the story.
The odd part is that Jesus was just walking down the street, like he had so many other times. He had no idea the woman was out there, looking for something to help – looking for someone to help her transform her life. Jesus had a reputation and everyone knew it as he walked out in the community, and down the streets.
In the 1950’s and for decades after the church learned if they opened their doors and offered the right type of programs people would flock in. We all know that day is over. With an awareness that the disciple is called to be Christ in the world today, I read this story now and I begin to ask questions:
- Out in the world, do I, does my church, have the reputation of offering real hope and healing for someone who has lost everything, someone no one wants to be around?
- Am I, is my church, out walking in the streets where an encounter might just change a life?
You see, I believe that at the bus station, in the laundromat, at the school, and in the office there are people who are desperate for something. Many people, who are Christ followers – who know what Jesus has done for them – keep their relationship with Jesus a secret. Wearing a cross necklace or putting a cross on the wall in your office is no longer viewed as a statement of faith by many outside of the church. What people look for is someone with a reputation, who isn’t hiding behind the church walls, but who is out there – walking the streets – where they might just – touch.
What are you most known for by those who only know you casually? What is the reputation your church has in its community? You get to decide the answers to those questions. And so do I. Live your faith out loud. You never know who you might just walk past today.
Rev. N. Susan Brims
East District Superintendent