Trust Beyond Privilege
Kaleid’s summer theme is To Be Made Well, and all of our summer circles and emails are pointed in that direction. We’d be thrilled to have you for our two-part book club where we will read the book To Be Made Well, or we’d love to see you at one of our walks or at our July serving opportunity in Clarkston! Always feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with questions!
Dear Kaleid Ladies,
Good morning! Today we dive into the third healing miracle in Mark 5. It might be the one that feels most relatable to you.
After all, it’s difficult to imagine living in a graveyard. (Miracle #1)
And it’s far-fetched to imagine a medical condition wrecking us, both socially and financially. (Miracle #2)
But it’s not hard to imagine being an upstanding citizen with a sick child.
Our third miracle is the story of Jairus and his family – a story about the well-connected and well-respected. It’s the story of a family who attends prayer meetings and has a church community. It’s the story of the person whose tragedy spreads like wildfire through the community grapevine (“Can you believe that happened to their daughter?!”). It’s the story of pain that raises questions in everyone’s mind (“If death can sneak up on their family, when might it come for mine?”)
We know the story. Jairus is the synagogue leader with a very sick daughter. He seeks Jesus out for healing for his best girl. His fatherly love inspires his urgent request, “When he saw Jesus, he fell to his knees, beside himself as he begged, ‘My dear daughter is at death’s door. Come and lay hands on her so she will get well and live.’”
Jesus goes with him. Riveted, the whole crowd follows, “tagging along.”
The sigh of relief is almost audible and the sense of anticipation is almost palpable. Everyone who is invested in this little girl’s recovery is on their toes. The Man, the miracle, and the moment are about to meet.
But then, a delay. There’s an unclean woman with bleeding…and Jesus’ searching for her in the crowd…and his extended conversation with her about her “whole story.” Probably a protracted affair.
And we get the horrifying news that, in the delay, Jairus’ daughter has died.
How utterly heartbreaking.
The moment is over. No miracle.
Then the Man looks Jairus in the eye and says, “just trust me.”
Let’s read ourselves into the story for a moment. Most of us have access to a lot: supportive community, wise counsel, prayer networks, medical access, caring friends. Just guessing, but there’s a good chance that, in a crisis, many of us could pick up a phone or send an email and connect to resources that allow ourselves and others to experience some favorable outcome where we would bless God and bless the miracle that came through those connections.
And this is good. It’s a picture of good gifts coming together for good purposes.
Our friend Jairus lives in this kind of goodness. No shade on him, but his social standing has (probably) given him easy access to Jesus and it has (indeed) made his daughter’s crisis the community’s crisis. Jairus’ expected miracle is certainly going to be a miracle, but it is also going to be the logical resolution to a plot line that is fairly predictable.
To use the un-appealing “p” word, Jairus is a man of privilege, and it works for him, especially in his deepest grief and most primal pain.
So, what happens when the benefits and plans and support of privilege fail? What then?
If you’re of a certain mood, you might point to the way that Jesus asks people with resources to let them go, or how he asks people to put him above their family. You might recall his teaching about the “first being last.” You might think that Jairus, who was a resourced-first, is learning how to be an impoverished-last.
If you’re of another mood, you might point to the bigger miracle that Jesus does because of the delay—the raising of the little girl from the dead. You might recall that “God’s ways are higher than man’s ways.” You might think that Jesus is showing God to be bigger than Jairus had even imagined.
And you’d be in a good space, theologically, in either mood.
But what about this mood? What about recalling a moment in life when you reached a floor in your soul over something broken, only to find that the floor wasn’t a floor at all. The floor was indeed a painful place, but it had all the support structures of privilege built in. Do you recall a crisis beneath the crisis, when the floor itself also fell through? Where was Jesus?
Maybe this is the moment Jairus falls in love with Jesus. Maybe, as everything crumbles, this is the moment his heart is laid bare before the loving gaze of the One who meets him in his darkest pain, even when all of his scaffolding has just given way. And maybe this moment brings healing to Jairus as he sees Jesus regarding him…loving his most scared and powerless parts. Maybe there are more than three people who are healed in Mark 5.
When the pain of life takes us past the limits of our privilege, it seems that Jesus wants to become the only thing in our field of vision. And in this singularity of seeing and being seen, there is a promise of healing for our deepest, most vulnerable parts.
We love you!
The Kaleid Team
P.S. Our book club on Amy Julia Becker’s excellent book, To Be Made Well, begins next Wednesday! There’s still time to join us for dinner and conversation (and a touch of yoga). Sign up here.
And, we are walking and talking together (just hanging out in a pretty place…Piedmont Park) on Saturday morning this weekend. Deadline to sign up is noon tomorrow, and we’d love to have you!