Emmitsburg Council of Churches


The Holy Gospel according to St. Mark 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 5:22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 5:23 and begged him repeatedly, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live." 5:24 So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. *5:25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 5:26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 5:27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 5:28 for she said, "If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well." 5:29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 5:30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, "Who touched my clothes?" 5:31 And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, 'Who touched me?'" 5:32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 5:33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 5:34 He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease." 5:35 *While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader's house to say, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?" 5:36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, "Do not fear, only believe."

5:37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 5:38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 5:39 When he had entered, he said to them, "Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping." 5:40 And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 5:41 He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha cum," which means, "Little girl, get up!" 5:42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 5:43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. The Gospel of the Lord! Praise To You O Christ.

Remaining on the Edge

Today I would propose to you that the most exciting and the greatest life lived is when you are "Remaining on the Edge of Life."

What do I mean by speaking of "REMAINING ON THE EDGE?"

Remaining on the Edge is a Figure of Speech. It is, similar to the idea of Living Life to the fullest. We understand that Concept quite well. We know we should not deny ourselves new Experiences and Adventures when there are Opportunities to Take Advantage Of.

Like Going on a Canoe Trip down a River–and Speaking of Which, Up where Suse lives, I see a nice opportunity to throw a canoe into the nearby river, go down-stream about an hour–get the Canoe out of the river–walk it up the River Bank and get back into the Canal–and paddle back to Suse's House . . . Sounds like a great Adventure to me! Living life to the Fullest requires having a Visionary Eye to Available Opportunities. Seeing where Energy is naturally available (like the river) and where it is stored (the canal) demonstrates an Edge of Opportunity. As a metaphor, there are many such places in life and faith for us to get onto the edge.

If One wishes to Live life along the Edges – One must practice being Alert of One's Surroundings. To be a Visionary is to be constantly Re-accessing Life – asking Questions like: "Am I fulfilled in what I am doing? Does the Time I Spend doing whatever it is I do – with the Majority of my time – make a Difference for Others? Is it Making a Difference for God? Am I a better person? Is what I do Good or Bad??!

Interestingly in Nature, the Edge is the most productive, fertile ground. It is the place where Predators find prey, where Abundant Food Sources are located. Like anglers know that a drop off in a body of water, like a channel within a river or lake, creates one of these Transition Zones–its where the fish are feeding.

The Edge where forests meet fields is where the ENERGY can be found–its where the buck is feeding on the hedgerow, where the rabbits are living in the thickets.

Make a study in your own life environment. Look for the places where things are happening on a consistent basis. See the points where things are coming together–where people are meeting, or where the productivity is greatest–this is the Edge, and it's where we want to be. It's where the Action is!

I would propose that in the Cases of our Two Subjects in the Gospel Lesson from Mark. Jairus, the Synagogue Official, and the Unnamed Woman who was hemorrhaging -- these two Persons were caught up in this Process we are discussing here. They were Moving Themselves toward the Edges of their world.

Again, you ask, What do I mean that they were Moving themselves to the Edge . . . the Edge of What?

Jairus' story is most fitting here. He has an important position in the Synagogue. Which is another way of saying, not unlike a Pastor or Priest living here in Emmitsburg, he was in a Position of some Authority. By his position, he has the Respect of Many in the Community – so his whole life revolves (to a degree) around Maintaining and Increasing the Respect of his peers and those who are under him in authority. Maintaining one's status can become a a full-time occupation. Even though it can gain you great worldly rewards, these are all temporal. There is no lasting value–nothing done in the realm of status for Jairus will be notable or remembered honorably when he is gone.

When his Daughter becomes Ill – Jairus is forced to engage in weighing out his options. The unthinkable Option is that doing nothing–his daughter will die–but doing something, even though she may still die -- this is the right choice of, it is honorable. However, Approaching Jesus, the Radical Rabbi who is being rejected by the Leading Religious Authorities – the Pharisees, entails a manner of Risk. Going to Jesus will endanger Jairus' Status and possibly his Occupation. Approaching Jesus, automatically places him in a line of controversy with his peers. Affiliating with the Teacher, places him at odds with the many who make his high standard of living possible.

Yet Jairus Chooses to Move Toward the Edge. He chooses the path of Risk. What is most significant is that, as he goes in that way, he is engaging his Faith.

The Woman who was suffering in the middle of the story of Jesus' heading for Jairus' house, also is going toward the Edge of her world. As we know, she's already suffering physically. She's also suffering socially or we could say -- she's suffering "Religiously."

If she obeys the LAW, she must remain socially isolated–if she disobeys the Law, she is under condemnation – Playing the Edge of her World she Determines in her mind to Go and seek out Jesus. This also places her in the realm of faith.

When we engage in risk for what we believe - then we are engaging our faith and this is an act of treading along the line – it is the fertile ground of the Edge. It is a place of both danger and excitement – fear and triumph are right there for us.

How is it for you or me? What are the two sides of the Ridge in your Life??

One could be complete Rejection of God–ignoring Jesus, not participating in Worship . . . the other could be "radical faith" – or going "over the edge," which leads to fanaticism.

But somewhere in between (though I think we might want to lean a little more to the Radical Side) . . . there is the Exciting Place where God has Ministry and Mission Work for us.

This is the Place of the EDGE. May we find ourselves there.

Let us pray,

Lord Jesus, I don't always choose a path that leads me closer to you, but I want to get to that place, more nearer to the edge of abiding with you. I cannot exist only for my own sake, but that you would be glorified through my life. Lead me dear Lord and I shall follow. Show me the Path that transverses the line of faith. In your Name I pray. Amen

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