“Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.’ Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, ‘Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.’ And instantly the woman was made well.”Matthew 9:20-22
I have always loved this scripture passage. Here is this woman, suffering with a horrible
medical condition for twelve years who is desperate for any kind of relief. She gets it in her head that if she could only touch the clothing of Jesus, even the slightest graze of his cloak then she would finally be healed. Don’t we all wish we possessed a faith like that?
Now, Jesus was very popular in those days. We know that in order to speak to crowds he sometimes had to float off of the coast of lakes. We know that Pharisees and Scribes had to be careful with what they said lest the crowd became too rowdy and overwhelm them. Even though his fame stretched throughout the region, Jesus still walked right through crowds and met everyone in the streets. Security never rushed him off stage, forcing people to stay arms distance from normal folk, and to my recollection Jesus never disguises his true identity. He is utterly available to everyone in the public, even women suffering with hemorrhages.
Jesus is so accessible that when he sees her, he is close enough to talk to. He is not upset that she is in his space. He is not disgusted to see yet again another person wanting help. Instead he looks at her and says, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” Wow. What a welcoming and gracious encounter? Through the life of Jesus, we come to understand God as welcoming and gracious too. Thanks be to God!
It is important for us to remember that this is the God we pray to and the one whom we seek to emulate in our own lives, and the life of the Church. You may have noticed that when I bless the elements for communion, I am not up the steps at the front of the church, but I am on the same level as the congregation. This is intentional. We celebrate an “open table” at Grace. All who long to live in relationship with God are welcome to the table, regardless who you are or where you are on life’s journey. Jesus made it possible for the women to commune with him, which is why our table is accessible to all, gluten free bread and all! May we continue the work of allowing others to know and experience God’s love.
Accessible Savior, thank you for always being available to us,
and for meeting us where we are. Teach us to do the same,
and guide us when we fall short.
Blessings for the Journey,