We continue this week in our sermon series entitled, “I’ve Meaning to Ask,” a series designed to help us connect or reconnect through courageous questions, genuine curiosity and deep listening. This past Sunday we asked the question, “Where are you from?” This Sunday we will be spending time with another question…“Where does it hurt?” All of us experience hurt, pain and suffering at various times in our lives and to various degrees. And yet talking with one another about our pain is one of the hardest things for us to do. It’s often hard to know how to ask another person about their pain. It’s equally hard to take the risk of being vulnerable and talking about our own. So why do it at all? This Sunday we’ll explore the value of making space for one another’s pain on both a personal level and in the public domain. We’ll also dig into our scripture passage from Mark with its reminders that the Divine not only doesn’t shy away from human suffering but always seems to be right in the thick of it.
There is a video that companions each week, available via our weekly email. Please watch and enjoy the next video by Rev. Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum, pastor of Mercy Community Church, a grassroots ecumenical congregation that meets in indoor and outdoor locations around Atlanta. She guides us into reflection on our second question…Where does it hurt? Please note our new worship time! We will be worshipping at 10:00 in person and online. If you are joining us in person, we will be moving into the sanctuary this week! We continue to ask that all wear masks indoors to best protect our unvaccinated beloveds, namely our children. Our Worship Watch Party, with some pre-recorded elements and some live elements, will continue through August 1st. If all goes well, we will return to a fully live service in the sanctuary on August 8th with livestream available for those at home.
I’m looking forward to being with you on Sunday as we worship God, explore our faith, and gather in the Loving Spirit!
Mark 5:21-43 (NRSV)
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Questions to consider:
- What makes your heart hurt?
- Where in your life do you feel vulnerable, humbled or broken open?
- What is your first memory of grief? What have you learned from your grief?
- How do you emotionally process your pain? (Time alone, prayer, nature, exercise, time with others?)
- Share about a time you witnessed someone else’s grief or pain…on a personal or public level. How did that experience impact you?
Questions modified from Sanctified Art’s series “I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You…” | sanctifiedart.org
What makes your heart hurt?
I hurt when I become aware of the suffering of others. The first beatitude lights this up in me. I am a big weeper, and this annoys my wife. Some of the weeping is for joy, and some for the suffering of others. There is a term in German, Weltschmerz, for “world hurt.” I often also pray for the pain in the world. I actively seek out Weltschmerz–partly because I can scarcely believe that we humans undergo this hurt. Paradoxically, my heart is also hurt by beauty–in people, in deeds, in nature, in art.
Where in your life do you feel vulnerable, humbled or broken open? When I pray. When I am surprised by disaster or suffering, when stressors mount and maintain their tyranny. I had some moments like that during the COVID era, and struggled to continue as a person who helps people find healing from the Holy Spirit.