Church of England Diocese of Liverpool St. Oswald, Netherton


29th May 2020


Morning Prayer

Psalms 28, 30

Numbers 27: 12-end

Luke 8: 40-end

Evening Prayer

Psalm 147

Deuteronomy 33

1 John 4: 7-end

Thought for the Day (Luke 8: 40-end)

This is a story within a story, and both stories find people in profound states of vulnerability. The ‘outer’ story, in the surrounding verses in this chapter, is about a man who is beside himself with anxiety because his twelve year old daughter is dangerously ill. Those who are parents know how vulnerable life feels when their child is in any kind of danger. The ‘inner’ story involves a woman who would have preferred to have been found at the back of a crowd rather than as the centre of attention. She faces the vulnerability of a long-term illness but, according to the law, she was ‘unclean’. Her religion had taught her that she was defiled and therefore could not draw close to God. She also had to keep clear of contact with people because they would be defiled if she touched them. A lonelier existence is hard to imagine. For twelve years this wretched illness had refused to budge from her life, for twelve years she had lived with the assumption that, in her condition, any self-respecting God would also keep well clear and have nothing to do with her. As Jesus was making his way to the house of Jairus, this woman reached out to touch his hem. She would have hoped not to be noticed amongst the crowd. Then suddenly this rabbi, the miracle worker was looking for her: ‘Who touched me?’ She came forward when she realised that she could not go unnoticed. She must have felt so exposed but Jesus addressed her. He called her daughter. She would then have really known Jesus the Son of God. She was healed and the power in this man surely could only have come from God. This God was not the horrible, punishing God that had been relentlessly presented to her. It was a God who allowed his people to touch him. He was a God who came down to people’s level. He was her God and he loved her as his daughter. He loved her every bit as much as Jairus loved his ailing daughter.

In the meantime messengers came to inform Jairus of his daughter’s passing…how Jairus’ heart must have sunk, how vulnerable he must have felt.. but no, onwards with Jesus…’Don’t be afraid; just believe..’ were Jesus’ words and indeed the little girl was restored to life.

No one finds vulnerability comfortable, and we all instinctively want to shield ourselves and find good protection. But this story introduces us to a God who stops and notices us when we feel our frailty and comes with a word that creates safety. The woman found healing as she let go of some old religious assumptions and judgements, and became open to a new vision of who God is. Jairus was taken to an yet stronger place of faith when he was told his daughter had died.

Do you feel vulnerable today? God meets you just where you are.


Jesus, when I feel vulnerable in this world, let me touch the hem of your garment, that I may know your security. Amen.