Today's scripture reading told the story of Jesus' healing of the sick woman who had bled for twelve years and the raising of Jairus' daughter from the dead. In her sermon, Rev. Dimock spoke of the courage it took the sick woman to show up among a crowd that viewed her as 'unclean' in order to reach Jesus and to receive healing. She also spoke of the courage Jairus, a religious leader, a member of an organization which felt threatened by Jesus. Both of these individuals had to be willing to be vulnerable to receive healing. They had to have faith, courage and humility. The woman had to endure people shrinking away from her as she approached them. Jairus had to be willing to humble himself before Jesus, to rise above any lingering mistrust he may have had as one of the synagogue leaders who were at loggerheads with Jesus. Both had to face the risk of rejection. Listening to the sermon this morning I felt I had a lot to learn from these two individuals.
Rev. Dimock quoted research professor Dr. Brené Brown who said "The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness." I can certainly relate to that! For many years I took pride in being self-contained, stoic and pragmatic. I didn't find a lot of joy in living like that and certainly not a lot of courage. And in the end I found this type of shell doesn't protect you from the upheavals in life that sooner or later come to us all.
Pastor John Orteg writes in his book Soul Keeping, "Sooner or later, your world will fall apart. What will matter then is the soul you have constructed." I believe that those who are willing to tread the more difficult paths in life with open hearts, embracing their vulnerability, and reaching out to others in a fullness of faith, not only come out stronger but find, even in those difficult times, that "peace that surpasses all understanding" - Philippians 4:7. The woman who showed up in today's scripture reading would not have been healed if she hadn't had the courage to be vulnerable and approach Jesus. By having the courage to tell her story about the orange shirt her grandmother made her and open up about the pain of her experiences in the residential school system, Phyllis Webstad also opened the door to healing. I left today's service with a lot to think about.