Church Life, Preaching

And we slid right past healing

For all our talking about views of Jesus, high and low, and the cultural slurs used by first century people, and the place of women and whether they should have walked through doors into houses to talk to strangers, we’ve slid right past healing.

I used political discourse and its unpleasantness as a way in to disputes about Christology. I took no sides, but even so, I know I gave some of my listeners heartburn just by alluding to the fact that we don’t all agree. And I can look around and make a pretty good guess at the candidates most of them support, just as I’m fairly sure they have little doubt how their lesbian pastor will vote in the Presidential election and on the marriage equality question.

I talked about politics and whether Jesus learned something from a nameless woman because both of those things felt far less dramatic and potentially controversial than the actions of the gospel story.

Jesus heals two people.

He heals a little girl with an evil spirit without even seeing her.

He heals a deaf man, and he goes all touchy-feely on that one, with spit and tongue-touching and fingers in ears. Bleh. Even the word he is quoted as using, “Ephphatha,” sounds swollen-tongued, too many consonants.

I hardly talked about the healings. The sermon was about Jesus being opened by an encounter with a human being, and a hope that we, too, can be opened by encountering one another and him.

Because there are too many people in our relatively small congregation who need that healing, who would gladly have Jesus stick his fingers wherever necessary, too many mothers and husbands and children who would follow Jesus anywhere to talk him into healing the person they love.

So we slid right past it.

I slid right past it.

7 thoughts on “And we slid right past healing”

    1. More observing it. The half-dozen other sermons I’ve read last night and today do the same thing, so I’m not alone.

  1. That is not necessarily a bad thing.

    For at least some of us, hearing about healing is almost too much to bear.

    I’m not sure I even noticed it. Which must say something rather huge.

  2. It was only your comment about this at the preachers’ party that alerted me to how I too was almost glossing over the outcome of the exchange between Jesus and the syrophoenician woman. I was so busy engaging the questions of Christology that I said very little about healing. Thank you for opening up a space for me to consider that question for myself and for ministry in the place that I am. Currently I’m struggling with a resurgence of a form of sarcoidosis and it impacts me and the community I’m in ministry with and clearly my preaching and praying too.

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