In the movie, A Beautiful Mind, John Nash makes the following quip which I love: "I'm terrified, petrified, mortified, stupefied by you." Today we might have the same reaction to Jesus in the Gospel lesson. He moves from one scenario to another doling out healing and loosing life-long bondage.
Because this lesson is from the Gospel, we have heard hundreds of sermons and read countless devotionals that press every scrap of wisdom out of these pithy words. I do not feel equal to any of those fonts, so I will just offer a glimpse into my reaction to my meditation on these passages (while chasing a 9 month old).
A couple of years ago our church began using the phrase, "radical hospitality." I know you might be thinking about a lazy river in the church's backyard ending in the baptismal pool of salvation (that was my idea!), or neon doughnuts, or singing telegrams to thank you for visiting our church, but what Rich, Luke and the other serious persons meant was an attitude of unrelenting selflessness. This is not my forte. I like to start projects, read books, cook, play with my baby but selflessness is not really my best personality trait. Jesus was always willing to give of himself. I know that it might not seem like a big deal to heal people when you are the Son of God, but when the hemorrhagic woman touched Jesus, he felt it! The Epistle lesson for this week also reveals the radical nature of who Christ was and what he did. 2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Now I am confronted with the Son of God who was willing to stop what he was doing to heal a little girl, acknowledge the faith of a woman, and give a young woman new life. Not only was this a kind and selfless thing to do, it was radical. I understand, from what little I know about Jesus's culture, that women did not run things. For Jesus to notice these individuals was a radical step of hospitality. His gesture acknowledged the unique personhood of those who are typically overlooked. I must seek ways that I can acknowledge those around me in a way that affirms their humanity.
Where does radical hospitality fit into this week's meditations? For my part, I have been impressed by the call to live full, abundant lives. To refuse to live shallowly. To cast our nets into the deep water. I feel that God is calling us to love fully even if we experience grief, to use "ordinary" time in extraordinary ways, and to seek to be unrelentingly selfless. How will we choose to respond?
I am including the links for the Gospel and Epistle lessons here again because I feel they are worth another reading. I certainly will be ruminating on these passages for a little while longer!
2 Corinthians 8:7-15