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.’” vss.27-28Mark 5:21-34
The woman’s condition made her ritually impure so she had a dual purpose in seeking out Jesus. She hoped that if she touched his clothes she would be both healed and cleansed. In our world we think of healing primarily in physical terms. We seek out physicians, often paying enormous sums and enduring countless tests, hoping that whatever is wrong with our bodies can be fixed. And, thanks be to God, because of wonderful medical advances and the skills of our doctors, physical healing often takes place. But sometimes there’s more healing that needs to be done! Like the woman we have a sense of our own impurity that keeps us from being fully ourselves and living freely as a child of God. It’s like a spiritual disease, contagious and deadly, that we pick up from our associations with those religious people who wield shame as a weapon in their battle with sin. Sometimes it’s parents, sometimes preachers, but the result is the same. We slink through life carrying a burden of guilt and shame and wondering if God can ever love us. The good news is that Jesus, full of the indwelling Spirit, had a heart for the impure and the outcast, and spent his life reaching out with grace and forgiveness. In his presence we are cleansed and made whole, and our healing is complete.
Thought for the Day: How has shame touched my life?