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June 7, 2008
Today's eMo is a meditation on a text that will be read in many churches this Sunday. As with all the eMos, preachers and teachers are welcome to borrow, with the usual attribution. No further permission is necessary.

While he was saying these things to them, suddenly a leader of the synagogue came in and knelt before him, saying, "My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live." And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples. Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well."
Matthew 9:18-21

Both the synagogue leader and the woman with the issue of blood know the same thing, don't they? This man's touch will change my hopeless situation.

This passage zigzags back and forth between the high and the low -- from despised tax collectors to earnest Pharisees, from a powerful leader of the local synagogue to a miserable woman who can't stop the flow of blood that renders her unclean. And a dead child, whose lifeless little hand Jesus takes in his own. A corpse was unclean: the one who touched it would need to undergo ritual purification.

But love is braver than respectability. It will go to places where respectability fears to tread. Jesus isn't unaware of the rules or of the distinctions among people -- he's just clear about how he will walk through his world. He's made his choices. Choices like that have consequences. The world protects its systems, and does not reward those who will not endorse its categories. You can't expect to catch the brass ring if you're not willing to ride the carousel. So be clear if you decide not to ride: someone else is going to get that ring. You have to be willing to let it go.

But be aware of something else: that ring isn't gold. It's brass. And a carousel goes around and around endlessly, and never leaves the place where it's always been.

Genesis 12:1-9
Psalm 33:1-12
Hosea 5:15-6:6
Psalm 50:7-15

Romans 4:13-25
Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26
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