Third Week of Lent – Jesus Heals
March 24, 2019
From Presbyterian Outlook, Jill Duffield Editor
38 After leaving the synagogue he entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. 39 Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them. 40 As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them.
“They asked him about her.” This simple sentence represents compassion, connection, communal care. Consider how often we ask about others. “How’s your
mom doing?” we might say. If someone fails to show up to worship a few weeks in a row, we may ask one of their friends if they have any news: “Are they out of town? Sick?” We may give them a call just to let them know they were missed. When we run into a friend we’ve not seen in a while and we ask how they’ve been, we get updates and maybe worries or challenges. We may even say, “I’ll be praying for you.” Or that much maligned phrase, “We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.” Hopefully, we really will — like the disciples in this story, we will ask Jesus about them. Healing and wholeness includes our asking to Jesus about others.
In a number of congregations with which I’ve been affiliated, we had a time during worship to share our “joys and concerns.” Just before the pastoral prayer or the prayers of the people, the congregation is invited to ask Jesus about those people and circumstances about which we are concerned. We ask Jesus to bring healing, even when a cure seems impossible. I confess, when I was younger, at times
I found this part of the service frustrating. Didn’t we pray for that concern last week and the week before that, too? I wondered if God didn’t have bigger issues to address than some of what his flock voiced. Occasionally, I wished that certain members would practice the art of brevity.
However, now I look forward to hearing whatever is shared. The joys and concerns feel as sacred as the words spoken at the Communion Table or font. Each request for comfort, healing, thanksgiving, wisdom and relief remind me that Jesus is in the room and we are asking him about one another. And I picture him responding: getting up, standing beside each person, rebuking the suffering, embracing the hurting, calling for healing, listening as we ask him about one another.
Jesus, we ask you about those for whom we are concerned. We tell you about friends and family in need of healing. We ask about tragic situations in our world. We lift up circumstances beyond our control and yet ever present on our minds. We know you hear us and will respond. Amen.