Call to worship
Wait for the Lord, like those who hope in God’s mercy.
God’s steadfast love endures forever.
Watch for God, like those who eagerly await the morning.
We watch for God, whose power redeems us.
Hear God’s hopeful word, like those who long for pardon.
Sing praise to God and rejoice in God’s love.
From fears that paralyse us;
Heal us, O Lord.
From illness that strangles us;
Heal us, O Lord.
From sorrows that weigh us down;
Heal us, O Lord.
From aimlessness that plagues our visions;
Heal us, O Lord.
we are yours.
We come as we are,
with our cares and concerns.
We long to touch you
and find healing in your embrace.
Strengthen our faith
and heal our brokenness,
that we may worship you with joy.
Prayer of Confession
Lord Jesus Christ,
you used your hands to heal, to lift up, to bless,
to sow kindness and tenderness in desolate lives.
Forgive us when we keep our hands at our sides
when we could be reaching out in love.
Lord Jesus Christ,
you used your hands to bear the burdens of others
and to feed the hungry.
Forgive us when we use our hands to take care of ourselves
without any thought for those who are hungry
or overwhelmed with adversity.
Lord Jesus Christ,
you used your hands to welcome and to include
those who were considered outcasts in the society of your time.
Forgive us when we clench our fists and exclude people simply because are different from us.
Lord Jesus Christ,
open our hands and our hearts to love as you loved
and to care as you cared.
Strengthen us to include in our prayers and our fellowship,
those who feel excluded because of such things as their race,
their religion, their sexuality, their gender, their age, their disability – whatever it is that creates barriers between people.
Lord Jesus Christ,
help us to accept people as you accept them,
as people made in the image of God,
and precious to God.
We pray this prayer in your name.
Heal us, Immanuel, hear our prayer;
we wait to feel thy touch;
deep-wounded souls to thee repair,
and Saviour, we are such.
Our faith is feeble, we confess
we faintly trust thy word;
but wilt thou pity us the less?
Be that far from thee, Lord!
Remember him who once applied
with trembling for relief;
“Lord, I believe,” with tears he cried;
“O help my unbelief!”
She, too, who touched thee in the press
and healing virtue stole,
was answered, “Daughter, go in peace:
thy faith hath made thee whole.”
Like her, with hopes and fears we come
to touch thee if we may;
O send us not despairing home;
send none unhealed away.
Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
his favour is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
‘I shall never be moved.’
By your favour, O Lord,
you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.
To you, O Lord, I cried,
and to the Lord I made supplication:
‘What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
O Lord, be my helper!
You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you for ever.
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?” ’ He looked all round to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’
While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?’ But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’ He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum’, which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Do you ever feel like the bucket of your life has a hole in it? That it leaks faster than you can fill it? No matter what you do, how hard you work, where you go, what you try, you just can’t fill it up? Work, friends and family all leave you feeling empty, restless, and searching. The outflow is always greater than the inflow and you are left drained of life: tired and weak, fearful that you will never have the life you want. If you know what that is like, perhaps you can imagine what the haemorrhaging woman in today’s gospel is going through.
We don’t know where she came from, we don’t even know her name. She could be any one of us. She’s anonymous, another face in the crowd. What we do know is that she is desperate and in need.
She has been bleeding for 12 years. That’s 4,380 days. In all that time no one has been able to help her. She’s spent all she had: time, money, energy and only got worse. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year it’s always the same. Drained of life, she is going through the motions, she is alive but not really living. She feels disconnected, isolated and alone.
Often we convince ourselves that once this or that happens everything will be better. As soon as she does what I want, as soon as the economy gets better, as soon as I retire, as soon as I have more time, as soon as I finish this project, as soon as …. We all have our “as soon as.” I suspect the bleeding women spent many of those 4,380 days thinking, “As soon as I find a good doctor, as soon as this new medication starts working…” Today, however, is different. Something in her has changed, shifted. She has heard about Jesus and deep within she knows, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.”
The woman touches Jesus’ cloak, He heals her, but more importantly He calls her “Daughter”. She is no longer ‘the bleeding woman’, she is now a daughter. She has an identity, a place, and a relationship. She has been healed and made whole. She is now fully alive and free to go in peace.
That is the the type of wholeness Jesus offers each of us. We no longer have to live drained of life. We no longer have to live “as soon as’’ lives. We too can know ourselves to be called, “Son” or “Daughter.” We too can walk the path of peace fully alive.
Every moment of each day holds before us the opportunity to touch His cloak, to ‘clothe ourselves in Christ’.
How do we do that?
We can begin by looking at the clothes Jesus wears:
Sometimes He drapes himself in silence, solitude and prayer. Sometimes it’s mercy and forgiveness, sometimes it’s thanksgiving and gratitude. Other times it’s compassion and generosity. Always it is self-giving love. The very attributes and characteristics of his life are the clothes He wears and the clothes we are to touch.
- After the healing, Jesus told the woman, “Your faith has made you well.” Why didn’t he say, “God has made you well?” Is there a difference? Why or why not?
- What is the connection between how God works through a relationship with him and how God works through doctors, nurses, and medical research?
O Christ, the healer, we have come
to pray for health, to plead for friends.
How can we fail to be restored,
when reached by love that never ends?
From every ailment flesh endures
our bodies clamour to be freed;
yet in our hearts we would confess
that wholeness is our deepest need.
How strong, O Lord, are our desires,
how weak our knowledge of ourselves!
Release in us those healing truths
unconscious pride resists or shelves.
In conflicts that destroy our health,
we diagnose the world’s disease;
our common life declares our ills:
is there no cure, O Christ, for these?
Grant that we all, made one in faith,
in your community may find
the wholeness that, enriching us,
shall reach the whole of humankind.
God our holy Friend, you allow us share some of your love for the world. While we are here praying for the world’s healing, others are busy implementing that healing. Later, when we are out there trying to give of our best, may others remember to pray for us.
Give your grace to all peacemakers; those who endeavour to resolve with justice conflicts between nations and within communities, commerce and industry, parliaments, families, marriage partners, colleagues and friends.
Let your grace support those who fight with and for neglected people; those small ethnic groups with no political voice, the little people who are being ripped off by the rich and unscrupulous, and the deserted wives or husbands who are raising a family alone.
Endow your fellow healers with your sustaining grace; those who treat diseases, bind up wounds, feed the hungry, re-settle the homeless, care for the orphan, visit the prisoner, encourage the handicapped, watch with the dying and grieve with the sorrowful.
Endorse the work of this church with your enabling grace. Keep it close to the agenda of Christ. Let us be joyful in worship, warm in fellowship, inclusive in outreach, open in decision making, humble and sensitive in evangelism, and gracious in our ecumenical endeavours.
Bless any servant of yours who is keeping the faith against the odds: those without the encouragement of other Christians at hand, or without even a distant congregation that can pray their names with affection. Please let your grace renew them daily, and may they know your Spirit as Friend and Counsellor.
Visit each of us with your grace, loving Friend. Dismantle our fears, build up our faith, deepen our love, clarify our goals, sharpen our insight, widen our compassion, and open our minds to the new words you wish to speak to our situation.
In the name of the patient, insightful, and healing Christ we offer these prayers.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom
The power, and the glory
For ever and ever.
Give to me, Lord, a thankful heart
And a discerning mind;
Give, as I play the Christian’s part,
The strength to finish what I start
And act on what I find.
When, in the rush of days, my will
Is habit bound and slow,
Help me to keep in vision, still,
What love and power and peace can fill
A life that trusts in you.
By your divine and urgent claim,
And by your human face,
Kindle our sinking hearts to flame,
And as you teach the world your name
Let it become your place.
Jesus, with all your church I long
To see your kingdom come:
Show me your way of righting wrong
And turning sorrow into song
Until you bring me home.
Go, confident in the knowledge of God’s steadfast love for you,
assured of the healing touch of Jesus upon you and emboldened by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit within you.
May the blessing of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you now and remain with you always.