5th Sunday After Pentecost – 06-27-2021

Psalm 130; 2nd Samuel 1:1, 17 – 27; 2nd Corinthians 8:7-15; Mark 5:21-43

I love the psalms and have several favorites, but Psalm 130 contains what so many do not have, it is the clearest expression of God’s mercy in the Old Testament. The redemption is “full”. For the Christian, redemption in Christ Jesus is not merely from sins, but from a natural inclination and dedication to sin. Beloved, God hears our cry of repentance, grants us mercy, and forgives our sin through His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.

God’s people call to Him from the depths because we know Him as the loving Redeemer who will satisfy our hopes. God saves not only from physical distress but also from the spiritual distress caused by sin. His forgiveness, mercy, and grace will not save us from ever having problems in our lives, but it gives us something very important; it gives us hope and encourages our faith. Nothing else will every replace this in our lives.

From 2nd Samuel we learn two valuable lessons. In order to achieve His purposes, God honors obedience not treachery, One, those who dishonor God’s chosen leaders are punished. Two, God’s leaders honors the memory of his predecessors.

There was a time when fasting was only in connection with the Day of Atonement, but later it became customary, for the fast expressed humility and dependence before God. Fast were often associated with occasions of repentance or mourning. Fasting was normally avoided on festive occasion and sabbaths, except for prolonged fasts which would involve sabbaths. Mourning should be more than a time of personal sorrow; it should represent prayer for strength and renewal before God.

Taking God’s judgment into one’s own hands, however, reveals total disrespect for God and His historical actions. It’s like praying for God to do something and then thinking we need to help him, as if He needs our help. Grieving over the death of friends and enemies is admirable in human beings. Expressing grief openly in love and respect is appropriate and a proper thing to do for our fellow brothers and sisters.

In 2nd Corinthians, Paul used the Macedonian churches and an expression of giving (Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But just as you excel in everything—-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—-see that you also excel in this grace of giving.) The first thing the Macedonian churches did was to give themselves to the Lord for His use. This is a lesson beloved, that we need to do ourselves and not for everyone else to see, but as a part of every prayer we pray; those in our prayer closets, our living rooms, our Sunday Schools and our Worship Services, to set the tone for committing ourselves first and foremost in service to the Lord, then our community and beyond.

In Mark, we read two stories. One of a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years, and therefore considered unclean, and probably shunned by the community in general. Her faith told her that if she could only touch Jesus’ clothes she would be healed. Jesus was walking through a large crowd, yet felt His power leave Him and He immediately knew He His clothes had been touched by someone. He turns and asks who touched my clothes?. The woman had immediately been healed and she fell at His feet and told Him the truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. God in peace and be freed from your suffering.’

While Jesus was still talking, some men came out of a nearby house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. ‘Your daughter is dead,” they said. ‘Why bother the teacher any more?’ The story could have ended there, but Jesus told Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’ He went into the house and removed everyone from it except for Jairus and his wife and His disciples. Jesus took her by the hand and said, ‘Talitha koumi! (which means ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up).’ The little girl, aged 12 immediately got up and walked around. He told her parents to tell no one of this, but to give their daughter something to eat.

Here, we have two stories based on faith. Do you see them as just stories, or does this make you reflect on your own faith and the strength? Would you have the strength to make your way through a crowd to touch Jesus’ clothing and find healing for yourself, like the bleeding woman did? How about Jairus, he was a synagogue leader, and he’s standing outside his house, waiting for Jesus to come so he could ask Him to heal his daughter. Imagine how people would have talked about his own lack of faith, by turning to this upstart prophet who claimed to be the Son of God. His actions could have ended him up in a stoning party to say the least. Both people reached out because they knew they could not heal themselves or their daughter, not worried about what others thought, but that they found complete and utter healing for themselves.

Beloved, becoming a servant of God through His Son, the Christ is no guarantee that we will not suffer or have troubling times. It does give us hope in faith, that He will be with us whenever we encounter tough times. His love for us knows no bounds, but even the best of us will not survive illnesses, but it does give us the assurance that when Jesus said, I leave you now, to prepare a place for you, we will be with Him when we pass from this world to the next. Until then, we are asked to serve Him as best as we can; we are to be generous with our money and time, and that we first must give Him our commitment to be His service, no matter what. I pray that what I have said this day, has given you a sense of comfort and strength, and for those who may not have made a commitment to God, read the first two chapters of Ephesians, for it will help you to understand the depth of God’s love and commitment to us. Amen

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