Dear Bethesda,

Our foster daughter has been receiving treatment from an Osteopath. The treatments are so interesting to me because they focus on touch in specific areas of the head and neck to achieve the desired result. At first glance, it can seem like nothing is actually happening in these treatments but as I watch our foster daughter react, I’m simply amazed. Pressure on the right points and her fine motor skills are engaged. Pressure on another point and she seems almost helpless, unable to focus. Pressure on another point and she will jabber away. It’s really fascinating.

On Sunday, we will hear two stories where touch plays an important role. For the first, the woman with the hemorrhage believes that all she has to do is touch Jesus’ clothes and she will be made well. In the second, it is Jesus who grabs the hand of a little girl and tells her to get up. In both cases, the woman and the little girl are healed. One from an affliction that would have kept her on the outside because it made her ritually unclean. And the other snatched from the jaws of death itself.

Just this past week, the disciples were astounded that Jesus had command over the weather and the sea. But this week the healing is much more personal but no less astounding. The woman who would have been kept on the outside because of her affliction is restored through her faith in simply touching Jesus’ clothes. Jairus, a leader in the synagogue believes in Jesus’ power to heal, but on the way when he hears that his daughter has died, Jesus tells him, “Do not fear, only believe.

Fear can immobilize us, it can cause us to want to fight or to run away. Jesus has demonstrated that in his presence, there is no need to fear but only believe. The disciples feared in the boat but Jesus calms the storm. The woman fears that Jesus is angry because she touched his clothes and instead she is told that her faith has made her well. Jairus is told that his daughter is dead and to leave the teacher alone, but Jesus tells him not to fear but believe.

If these things are true, then what should we do with our fears? Should we fight, flight or freeze? Or should we bring our fears to the one whose power comes from God, the one who calms the storms, the one whose clothing holds power, the one who can raise a little girl from her death bed? Jesus’ word to us, when others would tell us to doubt, when others would tell us to not bother Jesus with the problem, is “Do not fear, only believe.”

God’s Peace,

Pastor Steve