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Communion Meditations (2006)

Woman in the Crowd

Originally delivered June 11

(See Luke 8:40-56)

Being a Christian manager sometimes brings you problems, conflict between the faith and the business.  Once such was handed to me.  She was an excellent employee.  She also believed—quite firmly—that AIDS is contagious by touch. 

Now, our installers were sent to the job site in pairs.  Another employees was paired with her—by rotation—and she refused to work with him.  He was an open homosexual, and rumored to have AIDS.  She absolutely would not work with the man.  I had the dubious privilege of telling her that, by company policy, I’d wind up firing her for refusal, not him. 

Put your mind upon the homosexual for a minute.  Amongst Christians, AIDS is the modern leprosy.  Even to be suspected of such is enough to make you socially unacceptable in many churches.  It is therefore instructive to learn from the woman who touched Jesus.

The woman was suffering from some condition which caused her to have blood flow every day.  As such, she was ceremonially unclean—evidently for life.  She was not allowed to touch anyone, but was required to announce her status loudly, so that no one would defile himself by touching her accidentally.  Years and years of implied sinfulness; years and years of loneliness.

She hears of the new rabbi, Jesus, and takes heart, gathers her courage and thinks, “If only I could touch his garment.”  This probably violates some ancient law; it’s not the best of theology—but Jesus honors it.  Perhaps this is because He is on His way to the house of Jairus, there to raise his daughter from the dead.  Jairus might just need an example of faith.

Jesus does not rebuke her.  Instead, when all is clear, he speaks to her:

· “Daughter” - what a sound to one who has been exiled from the family so many years!

· “Your faith has made you well.”  Not what, but Who.

· “Go in peace” - no thought of returning to uncleanness, rather, peace.

We approach Communion and receive much the same thing.  By the sharing of His body and blood we are confirmed in the kingdom of God—welcomed home, not as strangers but as children of our heavenly Father.  He acknowledges to us that it is faith that matters, not ceremony.  And as we leave His table, we are not only to go in peace, but indeed be His ambassadors of peace and reconciliation. 

“Power had gone out of me” said Jesus, when she touched Him.  In the same way He puts that divine power within us, by faith.  If you feel the power of God during Communion, perhaps that is it:  those with faith receive that power from their Lord.

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