Showing posts from May, 2008

Which healing? Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

This gospel lesson is difficult for preachers. Which healing do you pay attention to? Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26 Much has been made in recent years of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak. The daily loss of her life-blood not only indicated health problems (an infection? fibroid tumors? uterine cancer?) and sapped her strength (anemia?), it made her unclean. It deprived her of touch, of entry to the Temple, of normal social interaction. For twelve years... Even in her pursuit of healing she tries to be audaciously inconspicuous. The healing she finds in Jesus restores her body, her spirit, and her place in the community. It is difficult to ignore the story the daughter raised from the dead. The brief descriptions in the gospel lesson are easily filled out by imagination and experience. Children continue to die, by accident, illness, and violence, and the chord this sounds is recognizable, resonating deep in the soul. The death of a child strikes hard, on the family and also on the

Pentecost – Clothed with power

In Luke 24, just before his ascension into heaven, Jesus told his disciples “I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” A friend asked the question “what is this clothing all about? Is this clothing a tight or a loose fit...and what might be the power?” I wonder if Luke is in any way picking up this clothing metaphor from Paul and the Pauline tradition? In 2 Corinthians 5, clothing is a metaphor for a heavenly/eternal dwelling. In Galatians 3:27, disciples are clothed with Christ in baptism (also a prominent part of Pentecost, Acts 2:41). Additionally, the believer puts on armor of light (Romans 13:12), the full armor of God (Ephesians 6), the new self (Eph 4:24, Col 3:10). Colossians 3 collects a number of these images and concepts in one place, where those who have been raised with Christ are instructed: “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put o