Mark 5:21-43

This week, we continue through Mark’s story of Jesus, where he’s healing people society isn’t all that sure they want healed, and he’s calming storms. He’s teaching in parables. Today’s story has the story of the woman who touches Jesus in the crowd, bookended by the story of Jairus’ daughter.

Working Preacher commentary is here.

NL/DR Podcast is here.

I love this Jesus. I love that he leaves a big crowd of people who love him just so he can go take care of one little girl. I love that when the woman touches him with an intent to be healed, he stops to ask who did it. I love the way the disciples are like “Jesus, buddy. We’re in a big crowd. Who didn’t touch your garment? Are you kidding me?” And I love that when news reaches them that the girl has died, Jesus’ response is “Do not fear. Only believe”.

Touch is important in this text. The woman touches his garment. Jesus touches Jairus’ dead daughter. Are we reaching out into the crowd with an intent to heal or be healed? 

How can we preach these healing texts to people in need of healing in a way that is not patronizing to the real pain people live with? To turn actual pain into metaphors of spiritual healing can ignore or trivialize what many people in our pews are facing. If you’ve never had chronic pain, have you spoken with people who have?

I’ve had only a few short seasons of chronic pain, the kind that keeps you from focusing on the tasks in front of you with it’s demands for your attention. I’m thankful I’ve only experienced it in seasons, and not for twelve years, as our hemorrhaging woman faced. Pain taught me not to trivialize the struggles other people go through that I can’t see or imagine.

I suspect the woman who touched Jesus might have been healed just in the moment when he saw her, when he knew she was there. Her pain was not invisible to Jesus. 

One year, when I preached this text, people were invited up to the front of the sanctuary to tables where there were pieces of fabric and some sharpie markers. On the fabric, (which I assured them had been taken from the hems of Jesus’ garments), they were invited to write what needed healing in their lives, and then take that fabric with them, to keep it in their purse or pocket that week, and to touch it when they needed to be reminded to reach out with an intent to heal.

Share your ideas here. How will you share this story with the children? Do you have liturgy to share? Where is the sermon muse taking you this week?

I’m on a boat right now, doing some study leave with a few friends, but will get back to your comments in a few days. Many RevGals are at the Big Event in Florida this week.

Blessings on your sermon work.


Marci Glass is the pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church and lives with her husband and sons in Boise, Idaho. She is a graduate of Trinity University and Columbia Theological Seminary. She serves on the boards of the Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood, Covenant Network of Presbyterians,  and the Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church USA. Marci blogs at Glass Overflowing and is among the contributors to the RevGals book, There’s a Woman in the Pulpit (SkyLight Paths).

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One thought on “Narrative Lectionary: An Intent to Heal (Mark 5:21-43)

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