OPENING SENTENCE– To you, O Lord my heart shall sing without ceasing.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
COLLECT FOR PURITY
to whom all hearts be open
all desires known
and from whom no secrets are hidden;
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
SUMMARY OF THE LAW
Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”
The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.
Amen. Lord, have mercy.
God is love and we are God’s children.
There is no room for fear in love.
We love because God loved us first.
Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.
God our Father, we confess to you
and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ
that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,
and in what we have failed to do.
We are truly sorry.
Forgive us our sins,
and deliver us from the power of evil,
for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
May the God of love and power
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.
GLORIA sung by Dougie Byers
O God, the protector of all who trust in you,
without whom nothing can be whole
and nothing can be holy:
increase your mercy towards us,
that, with you as our ruler and guide,
we may so enjoy the good things of time,
as not to lose the things of eternity;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen
FIRST READING 2 SAMUEL 1:1, 17-27 read by Marion Whitty
After the death of Saul, when David had returned from defeating the Amalekites, David remained two days in Ziklag. David intoned this lamentation over Saul and his son Jonathan. (He ordered that The Song of the Bow be taught to the people of Judah; it is written in the Book of Jashar.) He said:
Your glory, O Israel, lies slain upon your high places!
How the mighty have fallen!
Tell it not in Gath,
proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon;
or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice,
daughters of the uncircumcised will exult.
You mountains of Gilboa,
let there be no dew or rain upon you,
nor bounteous fields!
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul, anointed with oil no more.
From the blood of the slain,
from the fat of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
nor the sword of Saul return empty.
Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!
In life and in death they were not divided;
they were swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions.
O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you with crimson, in luxury,
who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.
How the mighty have fallen
in the midst of the battle!
Jonathan lies slain upon your high places.
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
greatly beloved were you to me;
your love to me was wonderful,
passing the love of women.
How the mighty have fallen,
and the weapons of war perished!
SECOND READING 2 CORINTHIANS 8.7–15 read by David Kerr
Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.
I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter, I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something— now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written,
“The one who had much did not have too much,
and the one who had little did not have too little.”
GOSPEL READING MARK 5: 21-43 read by Rev Ann Wren
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Mark chapter 5 beginning at verse 21
Glory to Christ our Saviour.
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 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 around 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.
Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel
Praise to Christ our Lord
A business executive became depressed during the pandemic. Things were not going well at all at work, business was struggling and he was bringing his problems home with him every night. Every evening he would eat his dinner in silence, shutting out his wife and five-year-old daughter. Then he would go into the conservatory and read the paper, using the newspaper to shut his family out of his life. After several nights of this, one evening, his daughter took her little hand and pushed the newspaper down. She then jumped into her father’s lap, wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him strongly. The father said abruptly, “Honey, you are hugging me to death!” “No, Daddy,” the little girl said, “I’m hugging you to life!”
This was the greatness of Jesus. He took people where they were at and hugged them into life. That is precisely what we see Jesus doing here in this dramatic passage in Mark 5. He is loving needy and hurting people, hugging them to life. This passage is a fascinating one because here we have a story within a story. It is written in what has become known as the typical style of Mark – it is written in sandwich form. The filling in the sandwich is the story of the haemorrhaging woman, and the two pieces of bread that contain the filling are focussed on Jairus’ daughter. In this sandwich, we have two healing stories rolled into one and the people involved could not be more different.
On the one hand, the family of Jairus represented the “upper crust” of society. Mark makes it clear that Jairus was no ordinary individual. Indeed, he was a very important person. He was one of the rulers of a local synagogue, probably Capernaum. He was charged with correct administration and the due conduct of worship.
On the other hand, we have the haemorrhaging woman in the crowd, who was a social outcast. She was considered unclean as one who was under the judgment of God and therefore not allowed to set foot in the synagogue. While Jairus and this poor outcast woman could not be more different, they are nonetheless united in this story in their desperate need for help and healing. Social class divisions, money barriers and the like have no place in desperation- both are coming to Jesus on equal footing, longing for healing and new life, hoping that Jesus will love them into life.
Try to sense the drama of it all. A great crowd was pressing in upon Jesus. In the crowd, there was an unnoticed woman. Did anyone around her even see the desperate look on her face? Did they see that longing glaze that glistened in her eyes? Were they aware of the shame and torment through which she was going? She had suffered from a haemorrhaging condition for twelve years. Many physicians had sought to help her, but to no avail. The haemorrhaging woman believed in Jesus’ power to heal, so much so that she was convinced that all she needed to do was touch his clothing in order to be healed. So, the woman was there – in desperation – this was her last resort. She was forbidden by law to come into crowds and yet she is there and she is Daring enough to come close to Jesus.
This closeness to Jesus shows her daring but also her desperation as she reaches and touches the hem of Jesus’ clothing. She has tried all roots for help; seen every physician; spent all her money in seeking a cure– she is desperate; this is her last hope. Up till now, her life has been nothing but loss. Twelve years ago, she lost control over her life; over her body. Suddenly the body, rather than obeying you, has its own agenda and behaves any way it pleases. She has been subject to bleeding for twelve years. Her body was out of control.
Coupled to this loss of control was her loss of identity. Sadly, and often, sick people become defined by their illness. Isn’t it interesting that the lady in the story is not named but referred to as a woman who had been subject to bleeding? The same is true of us. We speak of certain people and say: the man who has cancer or the woman who suffers from depression. Sick people lose their identity in their sickness. They are no longer the person they were; they are the person who has an illness, who is disfigured, the one who endures chronic pain, the one who is dying. The loss of identity is hurtful and painful.
Alongside the loss of control and the loss of identity is the loss of certainty. Anyone suffering from a chronic illness will know that everything becomes contingent upon your condition. It is hard to plan ahead, for you are not sure, if your health will be up to it! This invariable brings us to another loss. The loss of your place in society. Sickness often puts a strain on relationships, jobs, hobbies and families. Certainly, for this woman no one was allowed to touch her. During this pandemic, we missed the privilege of hugging one another. Can you imagine this woman had not had a hug in 12 years, indeed no one had put a hand on her shoulder or touched her in any way? How incredibly painful that must have been. She is not allowed to go to the market, so she is unable to socialise. She is not allowed to attend the synagogue, so she is deprived of much needed spiritual nourishment. In effect, she is isolated and alone. This illness has not just had a physical toil on her, but as we have experienced in this pandemic, it has brought with it, a spiritual, mental and emotional toil.
As so many people who have chronic illnesses will testify, it drains your financial resources. There was a loss of resources for this lady. She had used up almost all her money and resources in trying to find the cure for her illness. It is hard when you have to deal with all the above, without having financial problems too. Finally, and perhaps the hardest of all to deal with, is the loss of hope. The most chilling aspect of this lady’s life is that she had tried everything, “yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” She was beyond human hope. She was at her wit’s end.
So, desperation and daring brought her into the crowd that day. I am not sure that she had any alternative. She dared to mix with people that she was meant to stay away from and if and when they knew of her presence, they would be disgusted with her. Her breaking point and her faith led her to touch Jesus’ garment.
Mark’s text doesn’t offer details about what part of his clothing she touched. It might have been the swinging and swaying tassels affixed to the traditional garment worn by observant Jews or it might have been the edge of his seamless robe. Whatever it was this sick-to-death outcast woman touched, she was transformed. She felt it immediately. Jesus felt it straight away. The woman was healed. Jesus felt healing power go out from his body and he wanted to find out who had touched him. How frustrating that must have been for Jairus- he must have wanted Jesus to come to his daughter now, not 15 minutes or ten minutes later, but now- how he longed for Jesus to come immediately and not to engage in some deep meaning conversation with this woman. He doesn’t want Jesus to waste any time in trying even to work out who had touched him? He wants Jesus to come straight away. However, Jesus in his humanity does not know who has touched him, but he does know that their healing needs to be acknowledged for their future well-being.
Frightened – should she stay silent- what should she do? She was dependent on Jesus’ touch and healing. This healing touch was not a mechanical exercise, it requires a relational encounter. Jesus’ healing, restorative power is available to any and all, but a real relationship between healer and healed is required. It was not enough just to touch him. Others touched him. She touched him with faith. Faith enabled this poor, frightened woman to recognise Jesus’ power, and she awakened that power with a touch. She continues with her daring and confesses that she touched him.
Jesus let her know that he was happy for her. In saying your faith has made you well- he was telling her that she played a part in her own healing. He confirmed the fact that she was cured. This woman was delivered from her loneliness, isolation, suffering- she in Christ has risen by his power to a new life, if you like, she has had a mini- resurrection experience. She is publicly declared clean and she is a new person and as you can well imagine, she was absolutely delighted. She has taken various steps along this journey- daring in her approach to Jesus, desperate in her need, dependent on Jesus’ healing touch, delivered through Jesus’ power and then her utter delight at her new life. What a life- changing encounter, it was for her!
Is Jairus’ journey any different? His journey is different- no person’ journey is the same but the steps taken are similar. He, as a synagogue leader, broke ranks with his fellow leaders to come to Jesus- that shows some daring! He is desperate- his daughter is twelve, she is on brink of womanhood with her whole life before her and yet she is dying. Desperation brings him to Jesus- he is dependent on Jesus’ love, power and healing. Be rest assured he has tried every doctor and resource available- he is now dependent on Jesus. Initially it looks as though all is lost – for when Jesus arrives at the house- they say she is dead but Jesus insists she is asleep- maybe it was a coma, or maybe death for Jesus is being asleep. Whatever it means Jesus says – “Talitha cum”- which means little girl arise. She gets up and she is delivered. The whole family are delighted.
Today we are all on a life journey too- our situations are as different and diverse as the synagogue ruler and outcast woman but when we come to Jesus, we are all on equal footing. When a crisis or tragedy come, we too can experience a mini resurrection. We can approach Jesus with equal daring and confidence through intercessory prayer. Like the woman in the gospel, we can share our whole story with him. We can be confident that he will hear us and he will give us, as he did to the woman in the story, his undivided attention. Whatever our predicament, when we are at the end of our tether and desperation is setting in- Jesus is there for us, and we are awakened afresh to our dependency on him. He will come to our aid- not always in the way and manner we expect- I think Jairus didn’t expect Jesus to raise his daughter from the dead, nor did the woman expect to give her whole life story. Jesus’ touch might mean physical healing but it might also mean strength, courage and peace to continue in the journey we have but might not want! Strangely enough too, as we journey forward in our life’s journey, we will know in the darkest of moments, his presence and hope and because of that we can delight. He will never forsake us or leave us. His love and care are constant and his power to change us and our predicament is incredible. Amen
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one substance with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father.
With the Father and the Son,
he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Lord of life, you raised Jairus’ daughter
from the clutches of death.
Revive your church
from the struggles of this age,
and help her grow in knowledge and love.
God, our strength and joy
hear our prayer.
Lord of life, the leader Jairus begged for your help,
and you answered his request.
Be with all who are worried
and anxious today about a loved one,
and show them your power
to transform and renew.
God, our strength and joy
hear our prayer.
Lord of life, break down all barriers
that divide communities and nations.
Take away prejudices, fears and hostilities
that hinder us from living peaceably with one another.
Help us to celebrate the diversity of people
and to appreciate the gifts and talents in one another.
God, our strength and joy
hear our prayer.
Lord of life, the lady suffering from haemorrhaging
was commended for her faith and trust in you.
Her daring and desperate approach to you
led to healing and newness of life.
Like this lady, may we come to your throne
with confidence, not trusting in ourselves
but rather in your great power
to transform and heal.
God, our strength and joy
hear our prayer.
Lord of life, some cry out for your healing touch in secret and in shame.
Pour out your compassion on all who are embarrassed by their condition,
especially those suffering from domestic abuse,
from eating disorders,
from drug or alcohol abuse.
Restore the dignity and self- worth of all who come to you.
God, our strength and joy
hear our prayer.
Lord of life, we noticed the contrast
in social standing, popularity and wealth
between Jairus and the woman with bleeding
Yet there was no distinction in your eyes,
for all are of equal standing and importance.
We pray for those today who feel unimportant,
rejected and ostracised by their community.
We ask that you touch them with your divine love,
and reassure them of their significance and value.
Where poverty is an issue,
bring the right resources at the correct time
to help and support them.
God, our strength and joy
hear our prayer.
Lord of life, you stretched out your hand
and restored the young girl to life.
Hear the cries of all who mourn
and long for what cannot be.
Turn all wailing into joy
at the promise of your resurrection
and fill all with your peace and courage.
Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Do not bring us to the time of trial
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.
The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord:
and the blessing of God the Father,
the Son and Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen
Go or stay in peace to love and serve the Lord. In the name of Christ.