The First Sermon I Remember

Mark’s fifth chapter includes a long stretch of verses, depicting* Jairus pleading for his daughter’s life and an unnamed woman boldly seeking Jesus’ help for her illness. Those ancient words invariably time-travel me to high school. I am suddenly in the balcony of the church I attended until leaving for college. There, alone with others on a long pew, I listened to a sermon.

I cannot tell you the first sermon I heard.

But I can tell you the first sermon I remember.

Treasured.

Wondered about.

It was the first sermon that shared words and images that felt like it was only for me. Did I lean forward in the pew? Maybe. Did my heart race or did I hold my breath? Maybe. Nonetheless, I can still sense the shift, the amazement within, as the preacher portrayed an ill woman’s faith. In his description (or his tone of voice, or how he paused, or other inexplicable actions the preacher conjured) I sensed her faith. Her hand reaching. Her desperation for healing. Her hopeful selfishness mingling with humility.

Who among us doesn’t need healing? Continue reading →