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Monday, August 5, 2013

Today’s Reading | Mark 7:24–37

From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go —the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” (NRSV)


Be opened.

So many stories of Jesus healing.

I am a long-distance runner. Sometimes on my long (and not-so-long runs), I hurt. There are lots of things I can do to distract myself from the pain—listen to uplifting music, fantasize about something pleasurable, or in the worst cases just count to four over and over again—and of course I can always just quit. But the most effective and the most true method I have for dealing with pain is to open myself up and invite Christ into me.

What healing is possible in those moments when we invite Christ in? When we ask for ourselves, or for others, as the woman did for her daughter or the man’s neighbors did for him? I have seen lives change. My life has been changed. What healing might we see in our homes, our neighborhoods, our cities, our world when we make ourselves open, vulnerable, like that?

It does involve risk, and it does involve choice. And sometimes all we can do is ask for the willingness to be open.

But oh, what we might receive!


Lord Christ, I place myself in your hands. Enter me, guide me. May I be strengthened in my weaknesses; may I be healed to do your will. And as for me, so for us all, and for our beautiful, fragile, hurting world. Amen.

Written by Anne Ellis, Program Manager for Congregational Life

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