And Abram [and Sarai] journeyed on by stages toward the Negeb.
Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.
We measure time in many ways. Journeys happen in stages, one choice compounded on another until we have a lifetime to look back on. Sometimes things happen, decisions are made suddenly, instantly—a moment in time, a pinpoint of decision and action shaped by a decade or more of memories.
What are those moments of your life that define you, that capture the essence of who you are? What are the stages of your own journey? Of our corporate journey? In a brief nine verse narrative, Abram and Sarai twice build altars to mark holy encounters on the stages of their journey. At the crux of a healing within a healing in Matthew a desperate woman grasps for hope and the moment is caught for eternity.
What do we make of these moments and our captured moments? Where and how is God in them, and not? God calls Abram and Sarai to a new land, but the Canaanites were already there. Our ears more recently tuned to the scourge of colonization cannot not hear unsettling echoes of manifest destiny in the promise that is presented here. And that this woman has been marginalized for much of her life. How do we undo the trauma she has literally and figuratively held in her body?
Yes, God calls, God blesses, God heals? But to reach our true home, to be made well—all of us, together—this invites a broad vision that takes all and each of us.
Enter into worship.
Readings: Genesis 12:1-9 † Psalm 33:1-12 † Romans 4:13-25 † Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26
About the Art: Healing of a Woman with an Issue of Blood, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=57961 [retrieved June 7, 2023]. Original source: http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/2048/unknown-brother-philipp-the-healing-of-a-woman-with-an-issue-of-blood-german-about-1400-1410/.
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