Mark 5: 25-34
In Fridays paper there was an article about home ownership and the difficulties of getting into the market for the first time. Its point was that it is still possible, but in the old fashion way-of saving first. In this day and age that would seem rather an interesting concept as highlighted by the journalist’s summary line of “Generation right now is going to have to wait and save”.
Here we are talking about consumerism in our society and whether the author is talking specifically of Gen. x, y or z I’m not sure, but I would suggest “generation right now” is not confined by birth date. I’m not really sure whether I’m a baby boomer or generation something because I don’t really care as it all sounds very impersonal and like reading from a physiatrist instructor’s manual.
But in truth, “generation right now” sneaks up on us all, certainly in consumerism I can see the benefits-my “need” to have the latest released big screen LED smart TV that has just come on the market. I know my darling wife is not here today but I’ll keep a copy of this sermon for her. But in “generation right now”, if not in our desire for things-we surely would have been at some time in relation to others. Where we see a person or their actions at a given time and make a judgment call based on what we see and know there and then. Or put more rightly on what we think we know.
I was reminded of this several months ago when talking to a taxi driver he remarked of the incredible stories he hears from customers of their life experiences. Stories where he saw a different person at the end of the journey to the one he saw at the start.
In a quick reading of today’s Gospel lesson it seems quite straight forward as we see Jesus healing people simply because of their faith. And that is the message. Jesus doesn’t interrogate them first to see if they are theologically sound-he simply sees their faith.
(and) that picture of simple saving faith is one we must always rely on for us and for others, because that is not part of the Gospel, that is the Gospel. That no matter how bad or how good we’ve been has no bearing on our worthiness of salvation. Salvation is only based, is only given through Christ. That In Jesus Christ our Saviour alone we are justified by faith, that we have eternal life.
They say fact is stranger than fiction, and that may well seem so when we consider that we are saved in Jesus Christ alone through faith. That’s it-that’s the simple truth. Yet that simplicity of the Gospel, because of our fallen human characteristics can make the belief in that truth the hardest of all truths to come to know. In “generation right now” we might see and admire a person of great faith. To even wish it was us, to even covet that faith. But I wonder if we would wish to covet that person’s story behind how they came to know and rely of that simple truth of salvation in Christ alone.
We all have our own story and our own faith journey that is unique to us. Paul said “I have been all things to all people that they may be saved” and throughout our lives: The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit have talked to us in the way we need to hear them on our journey to faith.
Martin Luther like Paul seemed to have this gift. He could converse, discuss and argue theology with the most profound minds, yet he could also explain the truth in the earthiest of ways. A favourite of mine, (I cannot remember his exact words) but is the time where he speaks of saving faith where he meets God in his day of reckoning and as his life is laid out before him things are not going so well. So he turns to Jesus and asks or reminds him, hey I trusted in you as you said-what’s all this judgment business-to which Jesus cannot but get him off the hook. The truth is we are saved in faith now but that still is a great picture for when we fear for of the indiscretions of our lives.
In today’s Gospel we see a lady who within seven short verses, through faith is healed.
“For she said, If I touch his garments, I shall be made whole. And straight away Jesus, perceiving in himself that the power proceeding from him had gone forth, turned him about in the crowd, and said, Who touched my garments? And his disciples said to him, You see the multitude thronging and yet ask Who touched me? And he looked round to see her that had done this thing. But the women in fearing and trembling, knowing what had been done to her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said to her, Daughter, your faith has made you whole; go in peace, and be whole of your plague (or cured of your illness).”
This interaction, how long was it, a few minutes-half an hour maybe? How blessed to be this lady-this sounds like “generation right now” stuff. Until we see what’s really in play here. Certainly we see Jesus’ power and his compassion, but the central point is that somehow this lady has come to faith. Faith that sees her healed physically, but more importantly, by Jesus acknowledging her faith sees her knowing, being told that she receives his whole promise-eternal life.
We might covet her meeting with Jesus, in hearing those words until we ponder how she got there, of her journey to faith. Her story of haemorrhaging blood for twelve years. Twelve years of seeing doctors, spending all her money on various unsuccessful treatments, but all in vain as her condition grew worse. Her twelve years in which she could not attend worship because of her being deemed unclean. Twelve years that because of her “uncleanliness” was judged and shunned by people. Yet somehow in this hopeless situation, her wretched existence she has come to faith in Jesus.
We might not want to covet her journey to faith but we don’t need too-because we have our own. We might covert her interaction with Jesus, the wonderful experience of hearing his words to her of his blessing-but we don’t need to-for he has said the same to you individually and personally-in faith alone you are saved.
That simple but beautiful truth, so simple that it can take a lifetime to understand. Lifetime of our unique experiences to realise that our story is actually His story-Jesus. A lifetime of the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit-working with our errors and hardships, our fears and our pain that in spirit, in Christ and His promises we are actually “Generation right now”. That today, in faith in Christ ALONE-you are saved. And that knowing that faith, you know that through “many toils and snares you have already come, Tis grace that has brought you safe thus far, and grace that will lead you home. Thanks be to God. Amen.