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.” [NRSA: MK 5:21-34]
Throughout our spiritual journeys we have to opportunity to touch each other’s lives.
- As sad as saying farewell and goodbye is the moment to look back at seven years where God has touched us, worked through our lives and revealed the kingdom’s work through you and me.
- We read this passage from the perspective of the woman with the long illness and its uncomfortable and unclean reaches out to Jesus in the faith of making the connection.
- As United Methodist, we celebrate that we are all ministers. We are all the church. My work and our staff are to inspire you to be the church and not be the church for you. Tommye McCoy said it best in her words of advice 38 years ago at the beginning of my ministry, as my grandmother she could have told me many things, but she said these words, “Your job will be to get out of 90% of the jobs the church gives you and inspire 90% of the church’s members to do the work they will be expecting you or someone else to do.”
- I don’t know if I have been faithful with her advice, but I am thankful for the opportunities where we have shared the kingdom’s work together.
- One of the power ministries of Rock Spring that has touched me has been the quilt ministry. Not only in receiving the prayers and warmth of my own quilt, but through the near-weekly opportunity to live out this very verse from Mark’s gospel account the power of Jesus working through the tassels, threads, and hands shared in sewing and prayer. Thank you for bringing healing and comfort.
- It is has been a highlight of my ministry to take previous experiences with missions outside our own communities and be the presence of Christ with neighbors who don’t benefit from living in our community. The trips and work of the teams building relationship, roofs, porches, and resetting foundations in Culebra, PR have been a series of spiritual ‘touches’ of the kingdom of God at work in that church, community, and the teams who have shared that leg of the journey. Thank you for using us to bring hope and love.
- The devotion of those who have packed lunches, flood buckets, health kits, and have driven and labored at Sager Brown, have taken ordinary items that have nourished, cleansed, and fed, clothed, and visited hands and hearts of the kingdom through those who know the powerful place such small items of food, clothe, and supplies bring life. Thank you for feeding, clothing, and visiting those in need of the kingdom of God.
On the other side:
I have tried to blot out the womanless weddings and hope that we will leave these in the past, not in the name of political correctness, rather because it just wasn’t right. Just say no, but yes to the fellowship. It was fun to prepare meals for a season and know this is something the church need not take for granted. But when we resume dinners, we can no longer do them for under $10 a person. The fellowship is too important not to break bread and gather around the table as a variety of ages and experiences. Thank you for eating my cooking and allowing me the opportunity to feed you for time. Now it time for you to feed others.
- It has been a joy to get to know your children through confirmation class, youth events, children’s sermons, VBS and GROW camps.
- It has been a blessing to me to meet you when you were in the hospital, you didn’t look your best, you didn’t feel your best, you maybe didn’t even want company, but you welcomed the prayers, love, presence, and thoughts of the congregation that I might convey.
- It has been a blessing to share grief with some of you and journey through the loss of loved ones, friends, and neighbors.
- I know I have never done all that I could do, but I have always tried to bring Christ wherever I can.
- I thank those who have taught Sunday school, sung in the choir, the praise team, solos, duets, trios, quartets, quintets, and ensemble recording as a digital choir.
We struggled through 2020 together. I used to enjoy streaming worship until we had to make that our primary voice. I thank you all for stick through the learning curve, bumps, and curveballs, of technology for worship. I thank God every Sunday that we don’t have that as our only way of connecting, but I give thanks that RS was already streaming before it became cool. Thank you for being faithful trendsetters.
- You have prayed for me and I you,
- You have shared your hope, fears, worries, tears, and joys. I have been genuine in sharing myself with you.
- If ever the church needs to claim the power to touch lives, it will be more critical in the next five, than in the past fifty.
- Can I share my faith? Yes, you have and you and I must do it more.
- The most the world leans toward evil, the more we need to never let go of God and what God has called Good.
Mark 5 is about Jesus touch being healing, restorative, and life-renewing.
For some we make physical touch
Others we touch from the distance through faith and prayer,
Others we touch in the review mirror.
As we begin to look at the past seven years from the next seven and beyond. I will cherish you and our attempts of making plain the presence, the message, and the call of Christ.
If I leave a final word it would, ‘homework.’
The gift is that we continue to have work that 1) is kingdom work, 2)_continuing work, and 3) work we continue to practice until all the world knows the touch of Jesus Christ. (that means we have lots to do!
God bless, God Speed, God can.