Welcome, Cheviot churches! We worship together on this 5th Sunday after Pentecost.
Call to Worship
Out of the depths we cry to the Lord.
We wait for the Lord and find hope in God’s Word.
Hope in the Lord!
For with God there is steadfast love.
With God there is great power to redeem.
So we come to offer our prayers and praise to God in whom we trust.
Hymn 124 – Praise to the Lord
Prayers of Adoration and Confession
Great and holy God, source of our life and all life,your glory is incomprehensible and your majesty infinite. You are the wellspring of new life and the fountain of true freedom.We marvel at your love, beyond all measure;we are challenged by your kindness which reaches further than we can imagine.We worship you in gratitude,offering you our praise with the voices of all creation,and our trust because you have come to close to us in Christ Jesus.Receive our love and loyalty, now and always,offered through the Spirit who prays within us.
Great and merciful God, our judge and our hope,We confess we have sinned against you and one another, in the ways we think, the things we say and the things we do.We have been quick to judge others, but less critical of our own actions.We focus on what we lack rather than recognize how blessed we are..In your tender mercy, O God, forgive what we have been, amend what we are, and direct who we shall become, through the grace of Jesus Christ, our Lord.Lord’s Prayer
Readings – 2 Samuel 1: 17–27
Hymn 553 – Just as I am
Merciful God, today's gospel showed the tremendous faith of a sick woman. Help us to learn from this “that we should always pray and not give up” and that if we “ask it will be given to us.” We raise before you now all those who we know who need to touch the hem of Jesus' garments and receive health and healing in their lives. Amen
One of my favourite churches in the Holy Land is not one of the ancient ones, but a new one, which I watched being constructed wile I lived there. It is on the Sea of Galilee, and the communion table is actually in the shape of a fishing boat. It is dedicated to the women of the Gospels, and there is a large mural across one wall of feet. In fact, many feet in sandals and the hems of peoples’ robes, and in the middle a hand is reaching out, as if to touch the hem of a garment. It is of course representing the story we read in the Gospels today.
There are three main characters in the story: there is Jairus, the leader of the synagogue – a powerful, influential, probably wealthy man. There is the unnamed woman, who for 12 years had a bleeding complaint, which was distressing enough physically, but which also meant she was unclean. She couldn’t mix with other people, so was cut off, ostracized from her community. The third character is Jairus’ daughter, a 12 year old girl, at the cusp of life, but who was gravely ill. All very different, and all very vulnerable in their own ways.
For Jairus, no amount of power or wealth could buy his daughter’s health, and like any parent faced with a grave illness of one of their children, he was desperate. In Samuel we read the lament after the death of Saul and Jonathan in battle. How are the mighty fallen! Saul had everything, riches, prestige, power, but his son Jonathan lay dead on the field, and in defeat Saul falls on his sword.
Jairus came as the last resort to Jesus, putting aside any suspicion he might have about the young rabbi, to plead for help, and Jesus responded with compassion and came straight away. BUT as they made their way to Jairus’ house, a crowd of people around them, Jesus suddenly stopped. Someone had touched him, and he had felt power drain from him. It was the woman.
She had spent all her money on quacks, and Jesus was her last resort. She was unclean so couldn’t approach him, but felt if she could just touch him, all would be well. It was – but he noticed and called her out, and from being on the fringes, she ended up in centre stage, all eyes on her. But Jesus blessed her with shalom – with the peace that contained all the wholeness she longed for. Not only freedom from her bleeding, but acceptance into her community. Though there is a difference from being accepted and belonging. One disabled woman felt very much included when she went to church; people were very kind. But through the week, she never had any contact and did not quite feel she belonged. It might still take the woman who had had the bleeding time to belong
Jairus must have been frustrated by the delay, as Jesus healed the woman – his daughter was desperately ill after all. And his worst fears were realised, when news came that she had died. But Jesus still went and taking her by the hand, he said ‘Rise, my daughter’ – Talitha Kumi in Aramaic. So tender. She got up, healed, and was restored to her parents.
In this story touch is so important. The touch of the Jesus’ robe by the woman, Jesus holding the girl’s hand and raising her up. Of course, it is something we can’t do, and even after the 9th August, I am sure we will still be wary about touching others. But Jesus also touched them with his compassion and with God’s love and brought wholeness and well-being. That we can do, for we can embrace God’s way of thinking and bring those on the fringes of our society to centre stage and offer God’s shalom to all.
Hymn 718 – We cannot measure
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
Compassionate God, we offer you our gifts with grateful hearts, glad to know you keep reaching out to us and the world you love. Bless what we bring to you, and use us and our gifts to touch the world with your healing grace through Christ, our Saviour and friend.
Lord Jesus Christ,
You are our source of peace and healing, and we are grateful.
Today we pray for each one who faces choices and decisions about their health—for those trying to follow good diets and to exercise enough;
for all waiting for appointments or wondering if they should make another;
and for all facing pain or anxiety after the months of pandemic…
Lord Jesus Christ:
You are our source of wisdom and generosity, and we are grateful.
Today we pray for each one facing choices and decisions about finances--
for those struggling with bills and budgets;
for those torn between covering necessities and enjoying a treat;
for those who want to be generous and yet feel overwhelmed by all the need.
Lord Jesus Christ,
you are our source of love and forgiveness, and we are grateful.
Today we pray for each one facing choices and decisions about their relationships.
We pray for people we ought to contact but just haven’t;
for those with whom we feel a grievance and have been avoiding;
and for those we miss dearly and need to tell how much we cherish them.
Lord Jesus Christ:
you are the source of rest and right relationship for God’s whole creation.
We pray for the earth, its many creatures and habitats competing for survival,
for its scarce resources and its abundant beauty.
Hymn 561 – Blessed Assurance
Go in peace and may the blessing of God, Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit be with you and with all people, now and always. Amen