“Tabitha koum” (stand up). For what are you willing to stand up?
Mark 4:22-42 (passim)
22 Jairus, one of the synagogue leaders, came forward. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet 23 and pleaded with him, “My daughter is about to die. Please, come and place your hands on her so that she can be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him. … 36 But Jesus … said to the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid; just keep trusting.” … 40 Then, taking the child’s parents and his disciples with him, he went to the room where the child was. 41 Taking her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Young woman, get up.” 42 Suddenly the young woman got up and began to walk around. (CEB)
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]
[Image:”Creative Commons Ralph Waldo Emerson He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life” by BK is licensed under CC BY 2.0]
In the years during and after Yeshua’s life people expressed amazement by telling great stories about amazing people. Stories of miraculous healings and people being raised from the dead were the currency of such stories. Yeshua was the focus of many of these stories of amazement. In our day and age medical miracles are almost a dime a dozen. EMTs and emergency room staff routinely bring people back to life with electronic defibrillators; doctors administer drugs and surgery to cure and/or retard life threatening diseases. I personally have watched a surgeon remove a piece of detached cartilage from my knee, felt the blood course through the veins of my arm after hand surgery, and have had had cancer arrested in both bladder and prostate. Amazing!
There is something more amazing about Yeshua than healings and raising the dead. He lived a life that was not compromised by striving after social status, money, recognition, or power. He had the sense of an intimate connection to the highest principles of life (peace, love, justice, wholeness) that are identified with the name of God. Perhaps. And not just principles… Yeshua had a deep passion for the plight of the poor, the marginalized, the distressed, and the suffering. His compassion was so profound that he willingly faced his own death because his life and teachings were considered insurrection by the powers of the Roman empire.
I am troubled that so many people today who call themselves Christians are willing to settle for some degree of social status, financial gain, recognition, and/or power believing that they can be whole and wholesome without a radical commitment to peace, love, and justice. I am troubled that my commitment is more casual than radical. The good news of this passage is that Yeshua says “Let faithfulness take precedence instead of fear.” When facing death (whether literally or metaphorically)… when confronted by a world run on the basis of power and intimidation… when life seems threatening instead of affirming… then it is time to throw fear, trepidation, and dismay out the window replacing them with wonder, awe, confidence, joy, contentment, and a buoyant, hopeful faith that puts trust in friends and neighbors (near and far). Such faith confounds the principalities and powers that expect us to cower in their presence.
“Stand up!” (Talitha koum) is not only addressed to the ‘little girl.’ It is an invitation to all of us — young and old, male and female, rich and poor, black and brown and white, gay and straight, Arab and Palestinian and Jew, … — to rise up and take our place in the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice. It is an encouragement to follow in the Way lived and taught by Yeshua. It is a clarion call not to be taken in by the boisterous and pretentious posturings of empire (whether political, social, cultural, or religious). It is an insistence that begs a response.