Category Archives: 2012-07

Pastor’s Pen for July, 2012

Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. Then Jesus asked, ‘Who touched me?’ When all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.’  (Luke 8:43-46) We never know for sure what sort of influence our lives are having on other people.  Over the course of my ministry, people occasionally come up to me after a worship service and tell me about something I said that was particularly helpful to them.  Often, when they tell me what it was that they found so meaningful, I realize that what they “heard” was not something I actually said!  Nevertheless, what they “heard” had made a positive difference in their lives.  Was this a case of they’re having misunderstood something I said, or was it a case of them hearing God speaking to them in a voice they thought was mine? On the other hand, I’ve also had people accuse me of personally “attacking” them in a sermon, even though that was never my intent.  Was this a case of poor communication on my part, or were they hearing the voice of God telling them something that they didn’t want to hear? In the passage above, Jesus found himself having an unintended healing impact on the life of the woman with a hemorrhage.  He didn’t know who it was that unexpectedly touched him, but he realized that it had a more profound meaning than just random jostling from the crowd.  He may not have immediately realized what results that gentle touch had produced, but he knew that some divine energy had passed between himself and that particular stranger. Similar things may happen to us without our knowing it.  God may touch others through us without our realizing it.  Our simple act of thoughtfulness and compassion may bring healing to someone hungry to receive it.  Likewise, our insensitivity or careless gesture may bring all sorts of unintended harm.  For instance, simply coming to church on Sunday may give an enormous lift to your fellow worshipers, while your absence may bring pain and discouragement to those who long for the touch of God, acting through your presence and support. Jesus could have such a powerful impact on the woman with the hemorrhage because he cultivated his relationship with God so that his life simply flowed with the energy and love of God.  Our lives have that potential too . . . but we will need to be just as intentional as Jesus was about cultivating our relationship with God if that’s going to happen.  The Church isn’t about our becoming perfect people – it’s about us becoming God-saturated people.  Worship isn’t about participating in archaic rituals – it’s about opening ourselves to God’s love for us . . . and experiencing it through the touch of the people around us! So how will God’s power leak out of your life today?  Who will you draw near enough to so that you can feel the full force of it?  What crowd will you have to wade through to touch the fringe of Jesus’ garment and find the healing you so desperately need?  That healing energy is what draws us into the Church, and it is our desire to become better conduits of that life-giving energy that keeps us coming back.  Join us – you never know what sort of power may flow into your life . . . or out of you and into the life of a stranger! – Duane