Monday, June 25, 2012

Making Jairus Wait

I know that Mark likes to sandwich stories together, and that this Sunday's gospel lesson (Mark 5:21-43) is a prime example--perhaps scholars' favorite. I've preached on this pair a few times, and I've taught on it a few more. Today, when I read these two miracles, I hear Jesus saying to Jairus, "You have to wait."

My phone rings pretty often. There's a slew of post-it notes on my desk with messages I need to return. Although I'm ashamed to admit it, I answer the ones I recognize before I return the ones I don't. When the phone rings, I'm willing to help the people who look like me, talk like me, and go to my church a lot more readily than I am to reach out to those who don't have a high-school education, don't speak properly, and have never set foot in church before. Maybe that's because I'm called to tend a specific flock, but I think that's ignoring the real truth.

I succumb to the needs of the elites before I attend to the needs of the world. In this story, Jesus allows a woman on the fringe of society to interrupt his ministry to the leader of the synagogue. He stops and ministers to her, risking the death of Jairus' daughter. In fact, she dies. But the message here is that, even though Jairus had to wait, Jesus was still able to minister to him.

I'm not advocating dereliction of duty. When the phone rings, answer it. When someone walks in the door, stand up and greet them. But I need to remember that sometimes people in coats and ties have to wait for people who wear rags.

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