the view from the pew 6-30-18

Saturday 5:30 service, Pastor McClean presiding

We sang pleasant old-timey worship songs. These included “Here I Am to Worship”, “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever”, “More Precious Than Silver” and “How Great is Our God”. Thank you, Pastor and Paul.

We followed the liturgy which included our confession of sins – dark, miserable and shameful – but because we worship a wonderful Trinity Jesus took those same sins and made them go away so we can stand without stain in front of our Father.

The scripture readings were Lamentations 3:22-33; 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-15 and Mark 5:21-43. We don’t ever read a lot from The Book of Lamentations but unknown to most church goers we sing from it every now and then. Its words such as

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

figure prominently in the song, Great is Thy Faithfulness”.

We spoke a responsive reading using Psalm 30. And we recited The Apostles’ Creed. And we recited The Lord’s Prayer. And we prayed. We prayed for our government that it be run justly by all involved. We prayed for those who defend us, foreign and domestic. We prayed for missionaries who take His Word far and wide. We prayed for the sick, infirmed and dying in our congregation. We prayed for you, our brother and sister in Christ, that we gather as one to help the world. We prayed for you, our brother and sister without Christ, that you may relent and surrender to His love.

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Sermon: I’ve Got My Issues

Today’s sermon focused on the Gospel reading about Jairus’s daughter and the woman who had the issue with persistent bleeding. These people had issues not unlike what we have had, are having and will have. The woman suffered for 12 long years with menstrual problems. It wasn’t enough that her health was damaged and went broke visiting several doctors but her spiritual and social life were damaged seemingly beyond repair by that time. Because she was constantly bleeding she was deemed ‘unclean’ by the law. She was not allowed to be touched physically by anyone including her husband and children. If anyone touched her they themselves would be considered unclean and have to be removed from their tribe for a set number of days. Because of her bleeding she was unable to attend worship service to honor God. The thinking in the day was that her bleeding was the result of a curse from God due to a great sin. The Jewish leaders in Roman times might very well have been the forerunners of ‘the prosperity gospel’, the belief that God enriches the just and sinless and brings wrath down on the ‘unrighteous’.

Whereas the woman endured a long running issue, Jairus’s daughter seems to have been taken ill suddenly and without warning. Jairus was a ruler in the synagogue of Capernaum, a religious leader so it was likely he was familiar with Jesus. He had probably heard of His teachings which were popular with the masses. He was probably aware of the stories of His healings and miracles. Despite these stories and rumors Jairus was most likely a follower of the ruling class in Jerusalem and prone to disavow Jesus’s teachings which would explain his installation as head of the synagogue. In most cases, however, a man’s faith is tested when the wagon wheel meets the cobblestone. Jairus’s daughter becomes ill and his first response is to do what is prescribed by the law and physicians. This doesn’t help and depending on the situation he becomes desperate, not knowing where to turn. He hears about Jesus coming to town, and despite what his bosses say about not associating with Him, he comes to Jesus, falls at His feet and begs Him to heal his daughter. Jesus agrees but on His way he has an encounter with the bleeding woman.

With nowhere left to turn and in a fit of despair she crawls through the crowd surrounding Jesus and grabs the hem of His robe hoping that this will be enough to cure her. And it does! But Jesus is concerned that somebody used Him without His permission. That’s the question, isn’t it? Was her faith enough to demand healing from Jesus without asking? Some people say Jesus knew everything about everything  all the time. JesusGod certainly would but what about JesusHuman? Except for Jesus, only Adam and Eve were ever perfect humans and they never adressed the issue of what a perfect human could know.

All the while Jesus is talking to the woman, Jairus is frantic to get Him to his daughter’s bedside.

Ok, Jesus, let’s get going!

But too soon after that the word arrives that his 12 year old daughter died.

Forget it, Jesus, be on Your way, it’s over. ((sigh))

But Jesus tells him to have faith and just a short time later, in her room, Jesus has raised the little girl from the dead and orders the parents to feed her. He also tells mom and dad not to say anything to anyone about what they witnessed as His time of majesty had not arrived yet. Not tell the world their daughter is alive? Jairus was probably out in the streets regaling his neighbors and anyone who would listen about the great miracle Jesus performed!

Last week, we talked about Jesus being in the boat with the disciples and the safety that afforded them but because Jesus is ascended we don’t get the same type of physical protection from disasters and illnesses they did. We live in a time where, though we have faith in Jesus’s promise of life in Heaven with Him after death, we suffer from the calamities of the world the very same way people back in His day who lived far away from Him, as well as those who died in faith of the promises of The Old Testament. Even the apostles, after Jesus as ended, were subject to horrible persecutions and killings. Jesus tells us to trust in Him whether the issue you suffer from is longstanding like the woman or strikes suddenly as Jairus’s daughter was afflicted. We all get sick, we all suffer from persecution, and most importantly we all die because we live in a broken world. One day will be my day to die. One day will be your day to die. One day will be everyone’s day to die. Regardless of when, where or how, what matters most is faith in Christ. Your faith is His main concern.

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