Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
Sunday Worship
11:00am Service
12:00pm Fellowship
Pastor Rev. Brooke Newell
Secretary Donna McDonald
315-265-7474

Touching

July 1st:

Call:   Psalm 130       (848)
Text:   Mark 5: 21-43

                                        Touching

This morning I feel like singing!
        Not just singing anything
But singing something in particular

I feel like singing the old hymn, "Count Your Blessings."
It's not in our hymnal;         and not in either FWS or W&S.
But it was in the old "American Service Hymnal"
                That we used in Jordanville
                Which was a federation of UMC and American Baptist
                        And the congregation didn't want the UMH
                        Because it was like choosing sides
                              Even though I don't believe that ABC had a hymnal

The chorus goes like this
        Count your many blessings               Name them one by one
        Count your blessings                    See what God has done.

And today I feel blessed
Today, I feel like counting this weekend's blessings.

For it is       a weekend of blessings.

Yesterday I had the joy of marrying a really nice young couple

And this afternoon,
I have the honor of helping people say good bye
To a man whom I held in such high regard
That I went out of my way 35 years ago to hear him preach
And whose presence in this congregation was the first thing I thought of
        when I found that the bishop wanted to appoint me here.

And I have to tell you that I was awed
        To be the pastor of his congregation
And I am awed
        To be a part of his service this afternoon.

Yesterday's wedding and this afternoon's celebration
are reasons enough to count my blessings
But there is another reason

You see,
The timing of the wedding and the celebration of Russell Clark's life
        Could easily have made preparing for this morning's service
an afterthought;
something of secondary importance
something that I did because I had to
        rather than because of the joy of doing so.

But the scripture that I had chosen for my text
        Is such a great scripture

        That even with the wedding and Russell's service
                I found preparing for it and reflecting on it to be exciting
Not just something I needed to do.

And so, one of the blessings that I have to count
        Is having this magnificent scripture
                Not only to kick off a summer series of messages
                        That I call "Tell Me The Stories of Jesus"
                But also to invigorate me, excite me, and inspire me
                        On a busy and emotionally draining weekend.

 The scripture goes like this:  Mark 5: 21-43

What is this scripture about?

It could be about healing

That is an intelligent thought
        Certainly the woman who was bleeding was healed
        And just as certainly, Jairus' daughter was healed

But that is not what strikes me about this scripture.
That is not what teaches me the most about Jesus the Christ
        Or about what I need to do
to be more like him
                And more like he would want me to be.

It could be about faith.

That too is an intelligent thought
And in fact it is indisputable that, in part, this scripture is about faith.
        Jairus had sufficient faith that he went to Jesus
                Asked for help
                And was confident that Jesus could do something about
his daughter's illness

        The bleeding woman had sufficient faith
                To also seek Jesus out
                And was confident
                        That if she could just touch his clothes
                        Her physical problem would be over.

Both Jairus and the woman
        Had faith so strong
        That they actively sought Jesus' help
                Instead of sitting in recliners hoping that Jesus would help

But still that is not what strikes me about this scripture.
That is not what teaches me the most about Jesus the Christ
        Or about what I need to do
to be more like him
                And more like he would want me to be.

What strikes me about this scripture
What teaches me the most about Jesus the Christ
        and about what I need to do
to be more like him
                And more like he would want me to be.

Is the lesson that everyone was/is important and significant to Christ.
Look at the remarkable differences between Jairus and the woman

He was the leader of a synagogue

He was an important, probably well off, man
        The type that about which some churches might think
                "I'll bet that if we please him
                He will give enough to make up the shortfall in our budget."

He was someone to whom many people would pay attention
        And perhaps even make accommodations to keep him happy.

He was import enough that Mark gives us his name

The bleeding woman, however, was a nameless nobody
        Actually worse than a nobody - for she was someone to be shunned
                Because under the law her constant bleeding,
Made her ritually impure
                and made anyone who touched her impure as well.

She knew this
        She had used all her resources seeking a cure and was dead broke
        She had tried all the doctors and they had consistently failed her

She knew this
        She didn't rush up and leap into Jesus' arms
        She didn't even try to touch his hand
        Her thought was,    "If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well."
                She touched his cloak
                Her hemorrhage stopped.
When that happened, Jesus swung around  "Who touched me?"
And while the disciples thought
That it was hopeless to ask that question because of the size of the crowd
The woman,     scared and frightened as she was,   didn't run away
        In fact, she came forward and admitted that it was she.
        And she told him her story.

Now, Jesus was hurrying to heal the very sick daughter
        Of a very important man
He did not need to be interrupted
        Certainly not by a relative nobody
        Certainly not by someone who could make him unclean
                By her very touch.

But instead of scolding, berating, or dismissing her, his response was
        "Daughter, your faith has made you well."

If you or I had been interrupted by an outcast like this woman
        While on our way to do something for someone
                Particularly someone who seemed more important to us,
How would we have responded?

With the tone of love that the word "daughter" conveyed?
Or      With a tone and words that conveyed irritation and condescension?

As we accept Christ's invitation to His table
        We do so with the knowledge that
Jairus and the bleeding woman and their modern counterparts
        are invited too.
Whether we see them as greater or lesser than ourselves
        Their invitations are equal to ours
                And ours are equal to theirs
Their invitations were made and sent with the same enthusiasm as ours were
Their invitations were accompanied by the same love as accompanied ours

That is what this story teaches us about Jesus the Christ
        and about what you and I need to do
to be more like him
                And more like he would want us to be?

That is why this story about touching
        Touches us so deeply as to be inspiring
        Even giving me so much energy
on a weekend that is emotionally draining -
That I feel like counting my blessings
        And singing about doing just that.