This week’s Revised Common Lectionary Gospel reading should carry a trigger alert for feminine health concerns. And also – what a blessing that a health issue particular to people with uteruses is addressed in Scripture! Moreover, Jesus does not follow the traditional teaching of his religion claiming that the woman who asks for healing is unclean, but he speaks directly to her and allows her to touch him.
This passage is almost an invitation for the female preacher to lift our cultural taboo regarding speaking of women’s health, and to open up about our own cramping or unpredictable flow or fear of reproductive health issues that are still not understood enough for a treatment to always be available. This would be a great time to issue a call to action, at least in the USA where tampons and pads are not eligible to be purchased with food stamps, and are taxed as “non-essential” items in 28 of 50 states. Perhaps you could take the opportunity to support a menstrual equity organization that operates worldwide.
Then there’s the matter of Jairus’ daughter. She was 12, born the same year that the woman started hemorrhaging. She was almost of an age where her own periods would start and she would get married off and join another man’s household. Why was Jairus so concerned for her health? It couldn’t have been from any practical or economic reason – it was purely out of fatherly love. Jairus cared so much about this child who had little value to the rest of the world, that he broke society’s standards of etiquette, knelt before Jesus, and begged him to heal her.
This Gospel passage is so counter-cultural, and pushes boundaries even today. How can you give meaning to the experiences of this woman and this girl in a way that makes a difference for your community?
Speaking of making a difference, we have reached the last Sunday in Pride month. The 2 Samuel reading shows David lamenting the death of his predecessor, Saul, and Saul’s son, Jonathan. Of Jonathan, David laments, “greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” Could this indicate that David was gay or bisexual? Even if your community isn’t ready to embrace that possibility yet, this passage definitely invites consideration of sexual orientation in biblical times, and suggests that it wasn’t as binary as some would have us believe.
The passage from 2 Corinthians talks about sharing resources until there is a “fair balance” between abundance and need. How do you see this played out in your community? In what ways could more balance be achieved?
There are countless preaching opportunities based on this week’s lectionary texts, but I’ve already hit my word limit! So please, share your ideas and questions below. Blessings on your preaching and worship prep! Welcome to the conversation.
Katya Ouchakof is rocking the bivocational life, serving as a hospital chaplain and a paddlesports professional in Madison, WI (USA). Her favorite office space is the deck in the backyard, offering sunshine and breezes, and plenty of birdsong.
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