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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Today’s Reading | Matthew 9:18–26

While he was saying these things to them, suddenly a leader of the synagogue came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples. Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. When Jesus came to the leader’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, “Go away; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. And the report of this spread throughout that district. (NRSV)


I am always touched by the courage displayed by the protagonists in this text. The leader of the synagogue, perhaps in utter desperation at the loss of his daughter, approaches the controversial figure, Jesus, knowing that he has a bad reputation among the religious authorities. The man may even be putting his leadership position in the synagogue at risk by these actions, yet for his daughter’s sake he steps forward.

As for the woman who stretches out to touch Jesus and receive healing for her broken body, she is one of my favorite characters in the Gospels. Unnamed, blighted by a wretched physical ailment, she is, we imagine, cowed and exhausted and weak, but she proves to be smart and strong, fighting her way through the crowd to get close to Jesus. So close that she can reach out and, rather cheekily I think, touch his clothing, sure and steadfast in her belief that in doing so “I will be made well.” And she is!

Courage may seem like a rather Victorian virtue, yet as we see from these exemplars of faith, it is an important aspect of the life of following Jesus Christ.


          Courage, brother (and sister) do not stumble,
          though your path be dark as night;
          there’s a star to guide the humble;
          trust in God and do the right.
          (from the hymn text by Norman Macleod)

Reflection written by Calum I. MacLeod, Executive Associate Pastor
   and Head of Staff

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