Do Not Fear

By Paul Davis, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

“…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?”… 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.”  Mark 5:28–34

It used to be that I wasn’t crazy about the story of the woman with the hemorrhages. I think it’s that word “hemorrhages”—an ugly word. Her unsightly illness defines her. She has no name. She’s not “my lovely friend, Dierdre,” say, but the “woman who had suffered from hemorrhages for 12 years.” Is that what everyone called her?

I’m learning how to read poems. Now I’m aware that poetry can appear out of nowhere, uninvited, out of ugliness and long-suffering, an interruption not expected. As a poem, the scripture might read something like this:

She had endured much under many
physicians,

had spent all she had;

she was no better, but rather grew worse;

she had heard about him, came up

behind him in the crowd,

touched his cloak,

I have a simple reason for wanting to follow Jesus. He discovered the secret of seeing beauty where I couldn’t see at all. I want to see that beauty in the poem:

knowing what had happened to her,

she came in fear and trembling, fell down before him,

told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter.”

Prayer for Peace:

God, we follow your Son, reaching for his healing garment, clinging to the holy hem with faith that we will become whole, faith that we will see beauty and hope in our lives where we once may have seen despair, faith that we will see peace where we once saw war.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Making Responsible Choices

Each day this week prayerfully seek God’s guidance in your choices. We are invited to orient our lives toward God and creation. Review the responsibilities and opportunities in the day before you. Pray, asking God for wisdom and insight about what matters most. Sit prayerfully with this question as you review the day. Ask for blessing to live this day responsibly and compassionately in the spirit of Christ.

Peace Covenant:

God, I will look at the hemorrhages of this Earth and see the beauty that Jesus sees.

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