This July 12 sermon excerpt is from the second of a four week “Being Community in Change” series. The gospel text being referred to is Mark 5:21-43.
At the time of Jesus, physical healing was not just about the physical but perhaps more importantly about rejoining the community, having a place once again, being able to fulfill your proper role – whether it be working or supporting others. Nowadays, the focus on physical healing can be a bit of a red herring for us. It is not as frequent that people are isolated from communities as a result of physical health (all there are still many ways to improve) … However, this does not mean that these healing stories no longer have relevance. In our context they are probably much less about physical healing than about community. Because not only are there times when healing is necessary to welcome individuals into a community, but we can also think about the need for healing within communities – healing of communities themselves. How those rifts and barriers that hinder full participation, or full connection, respect, and understanding, are removed.
This is particularly relevant because this month we are talking about being community in change. We remember how much change impacts us personally, globally, in our congregations (which is true of both congregations in different ways), and in our wider church.
Change is disruptive, often leading to hurt and pain. Change can accentuate existing differences, bring fault lines to the fore, and reveal flaws and weaknesses in structures and individuals. Change can drive us apart, divide and scatter us, as some give up and leave, and others ignore the reality that surrounds them. However, change does not have these negative effects. Change can also bring us together, unite us around a common goal, encourage us to greater understanding and appreciation of differences. Change can bring forward preexisting differences and challenges and force us to work through them together. Change can be a gift for a community as well, if we risk healing …
To take the risks for healing, we need trust. Trust is not about certainty but about possibility. Trust is not about knowing that things will improve, but about acting to create the space where this is possible.
Questions for Reflection:
Where, within yourself, in your relationships, and in your congregation are you called to risk healing?
What do you need to trust to take this risk?