It seems very appropriate to begin a series on “Healing Hands” with the sharing of two instances in which healing comes from touching or being touched by Jesus. In these, and other passages, it is clear there is something life-giving about the touch of Jesus.
On the surface these verses seem to give us a formula for healing, we just need to figure out where to connect with Jesus and then reach out, we don’t even necessarily need to ask. Not too difficult for people who know Jesus, the son, is with God the Father, connected to each of us through God the Holy Spirit, all of the time.
We don’t have to listen to the conversation in the village square to figure out where Jesus is walking, we already know. So the finding is easy. Now we just need to ask and then healing comes, even life out of death kind of healing. We trust in that power every time we pray that those we love will be healed from whatever illness, injury, or situation they are facing.
I believe in that kind of healing, I have witnessed it, as I suspect many of you have.
The difficult thing is how do we deal with the times bodies are not healed, when we face burying our children, our spouses, our friends way to soon, when the same prayers are lifted in health crisis facing two brothers-in-laws and one sister becomes a widow and the other doesn’t. How do we reconcile this morning’s scripture with the realities of what seem to be requests for help left unanswered. We might begin to ask a myriad of questions including wondering if our faith is insufficient or God isn’t listening. We might wonder how we can bring life to others.
This passage helps us address those questions. Helps us work through what seems to be inconsistency, when we go deeper than what seems like a quick fix. It helps us see that healing can be cure, it can be repaired relationship or new direction for our lives, as much as it can be assurance that we don’t face anything alone, that we can trust God with everything, including our loved ones and our very lives.
One of the things I think we see in this scripture that helps us experience healing is that Jesus takes interruptions in stride. He experiences what we all do, he has a day of teaching planned and he gets interrupted by a request for attention to one sick child, changing his direction and focus; then while handling that interruption with grace and compassion, he is interrupted by the woman in the crowd touching the hem of his robe even though she never planned to be an interruption. Then he is interrupted by disciples who can’t understand how he discerned he was touched with a large crowd pressing in on him, then interrupted by the mourners at the home of Jarius. Through all of the interruptions, he is responsive to the needs of those around him, he finds ways to model and teach how to live into the kingdom of God.
I think His example calls us to see potential for offering healing, of bringing life to all those situations that interrupt our plans, of putting compassion before agenda. That “there is no task more urgent than to bend to assist those who seek help” 
As this journey of healing unfolds, we see Jesus does not prioritize on the basis of who the community thinks is important. Jarius is a leader in the synagogue, respected by the people. Jesus can gain some prestige and validation by helping him out. It is clear, Jarius doesn’t see it that way as he falls at Jesus’ feet and begs him to come and, just as clear, Jesus isn’t in it for the fame. He limits who will witness his interaction with the young girl, focusing on her instead of what the invitation could mean for his career. He also put the request of Jarius on hold while he stops to build relationship with the woman who touched him.
Through his actions, Jesus restores the now healed bleeding woman to her community, taking the time to remove the stigma of being unworthy she has carried for so many years, as well as declaring with his actions that she didn’t make anyone else unclean either.
The daughter of Jarius receives new life, but Jesus doesn’t stop with the miraculous, he recognizes the child’s ongoing basic needs, calling those caught up in the miracle, to go find something for her to eat.
Jesus reminds us that all people are important to God, regardless of social rank, age, or community assigned value, Regardless of where they grew up, what they wear, what house of worship their parents attended, if any, or what they neighbors say about them.
Jesus draws attention to the need to meet the basic needs of persons to feel loved, worthy, part of community, as well as physical needs such as food. The miracles were wonderful and meaningful, but the lasting healing, the true bringing of life came in the ordinary things we can so easily dismiss as less important. Relationships, food, water, and clothing, all a source of healing.
This morning on the news was the story of a little girl who noticed a classmate had “broken” shoes. She told her parents, who helped her buy him a new pair. When they gave him the shoes it made a difference in his life and others who needed help stepped forward. Out of that act of healing came a shoe drive and many others are learning someone cares about them. An ordinary thing, New shoes, now a source of healing.
We can all bring life to others through ordinary things, and in so doing share miracles we may never witness or understand, but which allow others to encounter Jesus.
It is in the ordinary things of bread and wine that Jesus invites us to remember he will always respond to our touch, to our request for help with compassion and understanding. That we are never alone. How that is possible, remains a mystery, but the witness of scripture affirms it is true. There is healing at this table we share today. Let us receive it, and share it.
 New Proclamation Year B 2006