Year B Proper 8 Mark 5
The Healing of Jairus' Daughter and the Hemorrhaging Woman
Mark 5: 21-43

A business executive became depressed. Things were not going well at work, and he was bringing his problems home with him every night. Every evening he would eat his dinner in silence, shutting out his wife and five-year-old daughter. Then he would go into the den and read the paper using the newspaper to wall his family out of his life.

After several nights of this, one evening his daughter took her little hand and pushed the newspaper down. She then jumped into her father's lap, wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him strongly. The father said abruptly, "Honey, you are hugging me to death!" "No, Daddy," the little girl said, "I'm hugging you to life!"

This was the greatness of Jesus. He took people where they were and hugged them to life. That is precisely what we see Jesus doing here in this dramatic passage in Mark 5. He is loving needy and hurting people, hugging them to life. This passage is a fascinating one because here we have a story within a story, or two healing stories rolled into one and the people involved could not be more different.

On the one hand, the family of Jairus represented the "upper crust" of society. Jairus was the ruler of the synagogue. He was a man of substance, rich and powerful and religiously prominent. In the synagogue, he called the shots. He decided who would preach, what scripture would be read, and what hymns would be sung. He represented the Elite of Society, especially the religious world, but this day Jairus was troubled. His 12-year-old daughter was dying.

On the other hand, the hemorrhaging woman in the crowd was a social outcast. She was considered unclean as one who was under the judgment of God and therefore not allowed to set foot in the synagogue. In this magnificent passage, these two vastly different people, the down and out hemorrhaging woman and the upper-crust daughter of Jairus, are loved into life by our Lord...

Now, of course, there are many beautiful lessons here in Mark 5 in these two dramatic stories of healing, and we could go off now in any number of directions. But for the moment, let's look closely together at the power of love and the amazing, incredible things love can accomplish when it is given and when it is received.

  1. Love Has the Power to Heal.
  2. Love Has the Power to Reconcile.
  3. Love Has the Power to Redeem.

Paul's "We-With" Body-Building
2 Corinthians 7:3-15

Tomorrow is the end of the "Year of Paul." Did you even know we had one? Actually, I confess, this pastor just found out about it. From 28 June 2008 to 29 June 2009, the Christian church was supposed to celebrate a commemorative year dedicated to St. Paul, partly to mark the approximately 2000th anniversary of the saint's birth. Pope Benedict XVI, who proclaimed this special jubilee year and invited the Orthodox and Protestants to join in its celebration, hoped that the "Year of Paul" would inspire others to similar missionary zeal and spirit of sacrifice.

In his sermon establishing this "Year of Paul" that we Protestants somehow managed to miss (the Orthodox Church celebrated it quite a bit), Benedict XVI noted a long standing tradition that said Sts. Peter and Paul met near the basilica before they were martyred, where they hugged and blessed each other. Both Peter and Paul were giants in the church, with different roles to play, and while there were sometimes tensions between them, the church would have been very different without either of them. To move into the future, we need both the push of tradition (Peter) and the pull of innovation (Paul).

This morning I want to focus on one huge difference Paul made. In fact, I want to argue that it was because of Paul that the early Christians can really be credited with inventing the "book."

But first, let me add to the mix another anniversary celebration. On 15 January 2001 a new holiday was born. There probably are not many of you who recognize that date, yet probably most of you have participated in what it celebrates. On 15 January 2001, a new peer-produced, biology based system called "Wikipedia" was born.

The term "wiki" denotes a specific type of open-source website. "Wikipedia" is a free, online, collaborative, ever-changing electronic encyclopedia of just about everything. The mission of the founders of Wikipedia was, for the first time, to give anyone with a computer (that's over a billion people, and if you include cell phones, 3.3 billion people) free, easy to access information at the touch of a button. On Wikipedia the continual exchange of information, constant peer updating of hundreds of thousands of articles, open-source evolution of new avenues of inquiry: all the above created a living, growing, changing community of Wikipedia users and contributors.

In spite of every teacher's warning not to do this, the first thing every school-age kid does when they write a paper is Google "Wikipedia." Whether you need the history of the Magna Carta, a diagram of the bicameral brain, or the best way to make goat cheese, it's all there . . . on Wikipedia. On Wikipedia any amateur with knowledge of anything can share it, make it easily accessible, invite and interact with comments, and offer their expertise for free.

Don't tell teachers this, but the kids may know something teachers don't. The December 2005 issue of Nature magazine published a peer reviewed article which proved that Wikipedia, as a peer produced encyclopedia, is very nearly as accurate as that gold standard reference work, Encyclopedia Britannica.

Think about it: in every culture it is the innovations in communications technology that change things... presents Leonard Sweet