Hanging by a thread

In our lives we have moments when we feel frazzled or distraught, when we are extremely tired and discouraged or we literally feel physically ill. These are the times when it seems like any minute we might break and fall to pieces. On these occasions, as the saying goes, we feel like we are “just hanging on by a thread.”

Today’s Gospel is about a woman who was hanging on by a thread (Mark 5:21-43). She had been hemorrhaging for twelve years. After many doctors and spending her life savings she still found no relief. Then one day, she saw Jesus and did an amazing thing. Rather than living the rest of her life hanging on by a thread, she decided to touch a thread, the thread of Jesus’ garment. The thread of his cloak became her lifeline to a whole new and changed life. Jesus knew he had been touched and he wanted to know who had reached out for him. He asked who had touched him because he knew it was important for her to acknowledge she had been hanging on by a thread and that she needed him. Though nervous, she told him the whole truth and she was healed.

In the same story there is a little girl who was also hanging on by a thread. She was critically ill and her father knew it. As any good father would do he asked Jesus to come see his daughter. At the girl’s house when everyone else had given up, Jesus told that faith-filled dad what he already knew: fear is useless, what is needed is trust. Then Jesus took the little girl by the hand and said, “Little girl, get up.”

At those times when we find ourselves hanging on by a thread Jesus says, “Little girl, little boy, get up.” Admit your pain, name where you are dying in your life and I will meet you there. The woman with the illness and the father of the little girl acknowledged their need for Jesus and that is where Jesus met both of them. If we are hanging on by a thread, we are invited to take the awkward step of saying so and reach out to our lifeline, Jesus. He will take us through our pain if we will let him. No matter what our age, it may be time to let Jesus say, “Little girl, little boy, get up!”

Together in faith,

Very Rev. Christopher Smith, rector, Christ Cathedral