Breaking Through

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.” Mark 5:21-

Do we as Christians take the time to understand what it means to have independence?  Is it not the freedom to worship in a way that allows us to build a personal and independent relationship with God – a relationship of love, faith, and hope, separate from any controlling body – a relationship where we trust God’s love, have faith in his authority over all other ruling “authorities”, and hope for our children and our children’s children?  However, in this day of valued independence, how do we dare to become dependent? Mark’s Gospel tells of two events surrounding two separate individuals, one an unknown woman suffering 12 years from constant vaginal bleeding and a named synagogue official, Jairus whose 12 year old daughter is nearing death. Both, at some point had the means to seek help from physicians and elsewhere, but the woman has now spent all she had and Jairus, perhaps  reasoning that spending more money clearly will not heal his daughter. What ever the reason it seems clear that both are at their wits end, and both are now seeking Jesus and for good cause. If Jesus is whom others say he is, their efforts are not in vain. If he isn’t then neither is any worse off. Except, that the quality of life for the unnamed woman, perhaps never reaches its fullest manifestation, not because she is any less of a woman, but rather because of the expectations surrounding the role of women in biblical Palestine. In fact what we do know about her and the particular situation in which she finds herself, I believe expresses her desire to fully participate in that role but is limited by misperceptions of the purity laws within the culture of her time. Ultimately she has two choices, accept and live in the misperceptions or seek her independence from the misperceptions, begin to believe in what God has promised and break through towards a new life.


As we approach the 4thof July I’d like to begin this week talking a bit about Independence. As a citizen, we don’t always take the time to understand what it really means to have independence.  According to the American Heritage dictionary, it has several similar meanings.  One definition of independence, which is my personal favorite, is having sufficient income to enable one to live without working.  Wouldn’t that be sweet?  Some of us enjoy this kind of independence from birth while the rest of us strive towards such independence in our older years.  A second definition means not to be governed by a foreign power.  This is probably what the forefathers of our nation had in mind when drafting the Declaration of Independence.  The repeated injuries and abuses by the King of Great Britain impelled the States to separate from the bonds of government, which subjected them to what they believed was absolute despotism.  Still, another definition is to be free from the influence, or control of others.  Was it not the hope of our parents before us, as it is for us as parents today, that our children grow to be free from the influence and control of others, particularly from those who purposely mislead and destruct? Although we are apart of an establishment, the government of the United States, we encourage our children to be leaders and independent thinkers.  While our constitution is not perfect, it does provide us opportunity (although perhaps not necessarily equal) to expect these inalienable rights that are deserving and the right of every human being. I say all this because I believe Independence Day is a great opportunity to compare the physical against the spiritual.