Tuesday, June 30, 2009

who touched me?

Sunday's Gospel reading was from the book of Mark - the story of the woman who had hemorraged for 12 years. Because she was considered unclean, she was not able to be a part of her community. How tragic. And yet her desire to be healed pushes against all cultural norms as she makes her way through the crowd to the only One who could give her what she needed.

The dictionary definition of "hidden" includes the following: being out of sight; not readily apparent; concealed - I love the manner in which the woman's face is hidden in this artwork, as she emerges from the shadows, reaching out from the darkness, as the light emanates from the robe of Jesus.

The following prayer speaks of such hiddenness. Truth cannot long remain in the shadows. Today may we all consider what it is that we fear to be brought into the open and may we all reach for the hem of the One who asked the crowd, "Who touched me?"

"Glory to you, hidden Son of God,
because your healing power is proclaimed
through the hidden suffering of the afflicted woman.
Through this woman whom they could see,
the witnesses were enabled to behold the divinity
that cannot be seen.
Through the Son’s own healing power
his divinity became known.
Through the afflicted woman’s being healed
her faith was made manifest.
She caused him to be proclaimed,
and indeed was honored with him.
For truth was being proclaimed
together with its heralds.
If she was a witness to his divinity,
he in turn was a witness to her faith. . . .
He saw through her to her hidden faith,
and gave her a visible healing."

From the Commentary on Tatian’s Diatessaron by Ephrem the Syrian, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament II, Mark, edited by Thomas C. Oden and Christopher A. Hall (Downer’s Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1998). taken from here.

Does anyone know the source of this artwork?


Donna said...

I had never considered the reason for this woman touching the "hem" of His garment. It would have to mean she was on her knees or prostrated. I had considered her to be subserviant, only daring to touch the edge of His being, but I had not considered her shame, her utter lack of worth, her feeling of dirtiness and being on the outside of life. She was destitute, had spent all her money trying to be cured. She was at the end of her rope. So she crawled through the crowd and dared to touch His clothing. What courage to overcome all the obstacles of culture and humiliation. Courage to believe it could make a difference to barely touch His clothing.

So, do courage and faith go hand in hand? Did she have faith He would heal her or did she merely hope? Did she have some faith in her worthiness or why would she dare something so potentially harmful? Was Jesus so transparent to those who trusted? Was His charisma so great that she knew He could heal or was she in such awe that she merely wanted to touch Him?

And why doesn't Scripture record her reactions to His mercy and grace? It seems to me that she would be shouting and leaping for joy, but she wanted anonymity. But when she realized He knew, she trembled and fell to her knees and explained to the whole crowd why she touched Him and that she had been healed. Was she still afraid or was she reacting to a miracle she couldn't quite wrap her mind around?

What a lovely bunch of questions. And now I have a New Testament Esther - another courageous woman to admire!

Diane said...

this is great, Roberta. yes, she is greatly to be admired.

kristin said...

I love this story from the Gospels...and, just the other day, while studying Scriptures, I came across the realization that this particular event occurred WHILE Jesus was on His way to another important task...to see to a little child who was dying...this woman knew nothing of where Jesus was heading...and yet, He stopped, He acknowledged her...He GAVE where the need - and the faith - existed...and still continued on to His destination. The "big picture" - and - the "individual events", all come together to blend into the tasks He has called us to do...one day at a time...giving of ourselves, as He did, one person at a time.

Thankyou for sharing this wonderful insight with us....

God bless you!