Honour

I’ve been thinking today about a story in the bible (Mark 5:21-43 if you were interested). Jesus has been approached by Jairus – a religious leader, a V.I.P. Why? Because Jairus’ daughter is sick. In fact she’s dying. It’s a heartbreaking story.

And Jesus is moved. So he goes with Jairus to heal her daughter. But as he makes his way with Jairus to his house, a woman forces her way through the crowd and touches him.

This woman isn’t important. She’s not a V.I.P. In fact, the passage doesn’t even give her a name. She is just “a woman”. And she’s sick; she has been for over a decade with a painful and embarrassing illness. She’s spent all her money trying to get well again and now she’s desperate. So she forces her way through the crowd, thinking “if I can only touch Jesus’s robe, I’ll get well”.

She was right.

I wonder what you would have done if you were Jesus.

Ignored her? You know what’s happened, but no-one else needs to.

Maybe you would have berated her. Can’t she see you’re on an important mission? How dare she waste your time?

But he doesn’t. He stops, turns towards her, and publicly commends her for her faith. He gives her honour.

I can’t help but think of the differences between this important synagogue leader and this distraught and destitute woman. But Jesus doesn’t see a difference – her needs are as important to him as Jairus’s. So he takes the time to give dignity to someone who had been stripped of her own. He takes time to lift up someone who life had trodden down. He takes time to give honour to someone society didn’t.

I wonder what it would look like if the body of Christ started to do the same – to deliberately seek to minister to those that society shunned, to give time to the ignored and to give honour to those considered dishonourable. I wonder how that might start to change our communities.