June 30, 2024

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost






Loving God,
we are yours.
We come as we are,
with our cares and concerns.
We long to touch you
and find healing in your embrace.
Strengthen our faith
and heal our brokenness,
that we may worship you with joy. Amen.



“Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face”

Daniel Burton



We trust that the Lord is with us

and all shall be made well.

Our faith is the light that guides us

through work, life and the world.

Rejoice and know that God is here.

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord.


*HYMN No. 796       “We Come to You for Healing, Lord”

1 We come to you for healing, Lord,
of body, mind, and soul,
and pray that by your Spirit’s touch
we may again be whole.

2 As once you walked through ancient streets
and reached toward those in pain,
we know you come among us still
with power to heal again.

3 You touch us through physicians’ skills,
through nurses’ gifts of care,
and through the love of faithful friends
who lift our lives in prayer.

4 Through nights of pain and wakefulness,
through days when strength runs low,
grant us your gift of patience, Lord,
your calming peace to know.

5 We come to you, O loving Lord,
in our distress and pain,
in trust that through our nights and days
your grace will heal, sustain.



We call on the Lord from the depths of our pain. We wait for the Lord on the strength of our hope. Faithfully, let us confess our sins and trust in God to bring us new life and new ways of living.



Lord, forgive us, for in the busy-ness of our lives we have forgotten to seek you. Instead of looking at the glory of every single miracle around us – from the beauty of the flowers to the turning of the leaves – we have focused on completing our own tasks. We have asked for miracles, but we haven’t asked for you. Help us see what you have already given us and to see all people as you see them. When we think all is lost, remind us how your forgiveness comes like the morning, leading us out of the darkness every time. Amen.





Great is God’s faithfulness! With God there is forgiveness and great power to redeem.

God’s mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.

God has turned our mourning to dancing, forgiving us fully and freely.

Our souls will not be silent. As forgiven people, we will praise the Lord!


*RESPONSE No. 581        “Gloria Patri”

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen, amen.



Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.

To this peace we were called as members of a single body.


The peace of Christ be with you.

And also with you.


ANTHEM           “Holy is the Lord”            Ralph Manuel





Please join me in the unison prayer…

Holy Lord, we seek for an understanding when we find none. Open our ears, our hearts, and our minds, and open us to our companions in faith. Teach us how to follow the path you are leading us on; assure us that we will be safe on this path and that we will always be welcome to follow you. Amen.


SCRIPTURE       Mark 5:21-43

21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat[a] to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him, and he was by the sea. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue, named Jairus, came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and pleaded with him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 So he went with him.


And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from a flow of blood for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians and had spent all that she had, and she was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, “If I but touch his cloak, I will be made well.” 29 Immediately her flow of blood stopped, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my cloak?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”


35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the synagogue leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing[b]what they said, Jesus said to the synagogue leader, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the synagogue leader’s house, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42 And immediately the girl stood up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this and told them to give her something to eat.




This is the Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God!!


SERMON           Talitha koum”

There was a man named Jairus there, he says, who somehow made his way to Jesus and threw himself at his feet, as Mark describes it, fell to his knees perhaps, or touched his forehead to the ground in front of him. He was a synagogue official of some kind, Mark says, whatever exactly that means, but an important man anyway, which is possibly why the crowd gave way enough to let him through. But he doesn’t behave like an important man, though. He behaves like a desperate man, a man close to hysteria with fear, grief, horror, God knows what.

The reason is that his daughter is on the point of death, Jairus says, only he doesn’t say “my daughter,” he says “my little daughter.” She is twelve years old, going on thirteen, we’re told, so she wasn’t all that little really, but to Jairus she would presumably always be his little daughter the way even when they’ve grown up and moved away long since, we keep on speaking of our sons and daughters as children because that is what they were when we knew them first and loved them first.

His child is dying is what Jairus is there to get through somehow to this man some say is like no other man. She is dying—he says it repeatedly, Mark tells us, dying, dying—and then he says, “Come and lay your hands on her,” because he’s seen it done that way before and has possibly even tried doing it that way himself, except that it did absolutely no good at all when he tried it, as for all he knows it will do absolutely no good now either. But this is the only card he has left to play, and he plays it. “Lay your hands on her, so she may be made well, and live,” he says—live, he says, live, not die, before she’s hardly had more than a glimpse of what living is. It’s a wonder Jesus even hears him what with all the other things people are clamoring to him for, but somehow, he does, and so does a lot of the crowd that follows along as Jairus leads the way to where his house stands.

They follow presumably because for the moment Jesus is the hottest ticket in town and because they don’t have anything better to do and because they’re eager to see if the man is all he’s been cracked up to be. But before they get very far, they run into some people coming the other way who with the devastating tactlessness of the simple souls they are -come right out and say it. “Your daughter is dead,” they tell Jairus. They have just come from his house, where she died. They saw it with their own eyes. There is nothing anybody can do about it now. They have come too late. “Why trouble the teacher any further?” they ask her father, and it is Jesus who finally breaks the silence by speaking, only it’s just Jairus he speaks to.

Do not fear,” Jesus says. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid. And then, “Only believe.”

The question is what is a man to believe when his whole life has blown up in his face? Believe that somehow life makes sense even in the face of a twelve-year-old’s death? Believe that in some unimaginable way all will be well no matter what? Believe in God? Believe in Jesus? Jairus doesn’t ask what he is to believe or how he is to believe, and Jesus doesn’t tell him as they stand there in the road. “Only believe” is all he says, meaning maybe only “Believe there’s nothing you have to be afraid of,” and then he tells everybody to go home except for his three particular friends, who Mark tells us were Peter and James and John. And everybody goes home.

When the five of them finally get to Jairus’s house, they find it full of people “weeping and wailing loudly,” as Mark describes it because this is not the twenty-first century but the first century and people apparently hadn’t started yet saying things like “It’s really a blessing” or “She is in a better world now” because for the most part they didn’t believe in any better world but just some sort of limbo world under the earth where the ghosts of the dead drift like dead leaves. Instead, they wept and wailed because they didn’t have it in them to pretend that the death of a child is anything but the tragic and unspeakable thing that it is, and Jesus didn’t say anything to make them change their minds, didn’t tell them that it was God’s will or anything like that. What he did instead was to say something that it’s hard to know how to understand.

“The child is not dead,” Jesus said, “but sleeping.”


Was he speaking literally?

Did he mean she had lapsed into some kind of coma?

Or was he only trying to comfort her father with the thought that death is only a kind of eternal sleep?

Who knows what he meant, but the people in the house seemed to think he was either a fool or a madman. They had been there when it happened. They knew death when they saw it, and because the line between weeping and laughing is sometimes a very tenuous one, they stopped their weeping and wailing and of all things laughed at him, Mark said, laughed because they didn’t know what else to do, until Jesus finally “put them all outside,” the way Mark tells it, so that only the three fisherman friends along with Jairus and the child’s mother were left there with him, and together they went on to the room where the child lay.

It is the deafening stillness of it, I think, that you can imagine best – the mother with her face in her hands, Jairus on his knees at the bedside, the child like the waxwork of a child, hair brushed, face washed, hands folded one on top of the other on her chest.

Then the moment of authority, – Jesus’ power over death. It’s the child herself that Jesus speaks to. He reaches down and picks up one of her hands in his hand, and Mark reports the words he used not in Greek, which is what the rest of his Gospel is written in, but in Aramaic, which was the language Jesus actually spoke, so somebody who was there at the time must have heard them and remembered them—the actual words he used as he reached out and lifted up the child’s hand in his.

Talitha cum,” Jesus says.

Talitha cum,” and you hardly need the translation to understand him.

“Little girl“— Talitha—”get up,” is what he said, and then according to Mark “immediately the girl got up and started to walk about ….

At this they were overcome with amazement.”

It was not just the child’s life that had been given back, of course, but the lives of the mother and father, who stood there with no words they knew how to say. The worst thing that had ever happened to them had suddenly become the best thing that had ever happened to them, and you can imagine they’re hardly daring so much as to breathe for fear of breaking the spell. You can imagine her walking around the room touching familiar things—a chair, a comb, a flower somebody had left, a chipped plate—trying to get the world back, trying to get herself back.

For whatever the reason, Jesus asked them never to tell a soul what had happened—maybe because he wasn’t ready for the secret of who he was to be known yet, maybe because he wasn’t sure he knew the secret of who he was yet himself. Who can say? Then he told them to go get the child something to eat, something for the child to eat, and that is where Mark’s story ends.


The question is what kind of a story is it?

If the little girl had actually died the way the people who were there in the house believed she had, then it is the story of a miracle as dazzling as the raising of Lazarus and bears witness to the power Jesus had over even the last and darkest power of all. If she was only sleeping as Jesus said —in a coma or whatever he may have meant—then it is a story about a healing, about the power of Jesus’s touch to make the blind see and the deaf hear and the lame walk. Either way it is a story about a miracle, but about a miracle that doesn’t end with an exclamation point the way you would expect, but with a question mark or at most with the little row of dots that means unresolved, to be continued, to figure out somehow for ourselves.

Who can say for sure exactly what it is that Jesus did in that house where Jairus lived or how far down into the darkness he had to reach to do it, but in a way who cares any more than her mother and father can have cared. They had their child back. She was alive again. She was well again. That was all that mattered. I picture her looking something like the photographs we have of Anne Frank—

—a wry, narrow little Jewish face full of irony and wit and a kind of bright-eyed exhilaration; I picture how it would be to have the child that was Anne Frank back again somehow, the way she was before the gates of the concentration camp closed behind her. I picture how one way or another, if such a thing were to happen, we would all of us fall to our knees. The whole world would fall to its knees.

Who knows what kind of story Mark is telling here, but the enormously moving part of it, I think, is the part where Jesus takes the little girl’s hand and says, “Talitha cum“—”Little girl, get up”

—and suddenly we ourselves are the little girl.


Little girl. Old girl. Old boy. Old boys and girls with high blood pressure and arthritis, and young boys and girls with tattoos and body piercing. You who believe, and you who sometimes believe and sometimes don’t believe much of anything, and you who would give almost anything to believe if only you could. You happy ones and you who can hardly remember what it was like once to be happy. You who know where you’re going and how to get there and you who much of the time aren’t sure you’re getting anywhere. “Get up,” he says, all of you—all of you!—and the power that is in Jesus is the power to give life not just to the dead like the child, but to those who are only partly alive, which is to say to people like you and me who much of the time live with our lives closed to the wild beauty and miracle of things, including the wild beauty and miracle of every day we live and even of ourselves.

It is that life-giving power that is at the heart of this shadowy story about Jairus and the daughter he loved, and that I believe is at the heart of all our stories—the power of new life, new hope, new being, that whether we know it or not, I think, keeps us coming to places like this year after year in search of it. It is the power to get up even when getting up isn’t all that easy for us anymore and to keep getting up and going on and on toward whatever it is, whoever he is, that all our lives long reaches out to take us by the hand.


Commentary and Liturgy from the Book of Common Worship (PCUSA), “Call to Worship” Website, PCUSA Book of Confession, The New Interpreter’s Commentary, Teri McDowell Ott, Evie Hughes, Carol Pickett, Joe Reggin, Scott Hoezee, and Frederick Buechner.


*AFFIRMATION OF FAITH         Colossians 1:15–20

Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation;
in him all things in heaven and on earth were created,

 things visible and invisible.

All things have been created through him and for him.

 He himself is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.

He is head of the body, the church;
he is the beginning,
the firstborn of the dead,
so that he might come to have first place in everything.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,

and through him God was pleased to reconcile all things,

whether on earth or in heaven,
by making peace through the blood of his cross. Amen.





*HYMN No. 802

“The King of Love My Shepherd Is”

1 The King of love my shepherd is,
whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am his
and he is mine forever.

2 Where streams of living water flow
my ransomed soul he leadeth,
and where the verdant pastures grow,
with food celestial feedeth.

3 Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
but yet in love he sought me,
and on his shoulder gently laid,
and home, rejoicing, brought me.

4 In death’s dark vale I fear no ill
with thee, dear Lord, beside me;
thy rod and staff my comfort still,
thy cross before to guide me.

5 Thou spread’st a table in my sight;
thy unction grace bestoweth;
and O what transport of delight
from thy pure chalice floweth!

6 And so through all the length of days
thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
within thy house forever.



We come before you this morning with full hearts, with joys and sorrows all mixed up together. We rejoice in the beauty and miracle and majesty of creation. We rejoice in the simple pleasures of summer’s rhythms. We rejoice in this community of faith, in the love we have for one another, in the service we provide to our neighbors, and in the faith we express in you, God.


Alongside all this rejoicing, God, we grieve too. We lift up in prayer those for whom this week has brought not blessing but curse: those who have been ridiculed, hurt, lost, or lonely. We pray for the victims of natural disaster and famine and war and violence. We pray for those whose work brings them into harm’s way — emergency personnel, soldiers, mediators, activists. We pray for those who seek peace in the face of overwhelming hate. And we pray for those who need our love the most, and ask you bring us to them.


We are grateful for the privileges we have in this country, God — for the freedom to vote and worship, for access to education and medical care. Help us to remember that a privilege is not a blessing until it is shared, and help us to bless our country. We pray for those here and around who live under persecution from their governments, who suffer from limited resources and blatant corruption. Give us eyes to see beyond mere statistics to our real human siblings who need our compassion.


We pray for those who are sick today, who need your healing touch. We pray especially for those suffering illnesses the world would often rather not acknowledge — for those who experience stigma and shame from their community rather than support and healing. We rejoice in the work of doctors, nurses, therapists, researchers, technicians, and all others in the medical profession who seek to bring health and comfort to those in any kind of pain.


Risen Lord, we remember with joy and with sorrow those who have died. We admit freely that we grieve, missing those whom we loved, wanting their presence in our lives. Yet we also confess that we rejoice, knowing that they are with you, grateful for their example in our lives. We remember the string of witnesses who have brought us to this place, the faithful of the ages who have served you and built up your church. We rejoice that one day we shall join them in forever singing to the glory of your saving name.

We pray especially this day for… [petitions of the congregation may be added here]






We bring these and all other prayers in our hearts to you, O God, giving infinite thanks for the gift of prayer, for the fact that you listen when we cry and when we sing, that you abide with us every day of our lives. We give thanks for the simple prayer that Jesus taught us, and we pray it now, joining our voices with the millions of Christians throughout time who have known it by heart, saying, “Our Father…”.


Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
















With gratitude for all God has given us, let us return our offerings to God.




*RESPONSE N0. 607       “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow”

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
praise Christ, all people here below;
praise Holy Spirit evermore;
praise Triune God, whom we adore. Am377



Lord God, let these offerings help us all along our paths and let them be useful in following our faith and helping our church. May our minds, souls, and bodies help to serve you. Let our gifts and kindness help not only You but our friends, our community and our world. Amen.





















*HYMN No. 377

“I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light”

1 I want to walk as a child of the light.
I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world.
The star of my life is Jesus.

In him there is no darkness at all.
The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God.
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus. (Refrain)

2 I want to see the brightness of God.
I want to look at Jesus.
Clear Sun of righteousness, shine on my path,
and show me the way to the Father. (Refrain)

3 I’m looking for the coming of Christ.
I want to be with Jesus.
When we have run with patience the race,
we shall know the joy of Jesus. (Refrain)





Go in peace.
Be whole.
Feel this relief:
Our Savior makes you well.

And may God who gives you life,
Christ who shares your life,
and the Spirit who is your life
be with you today, tomorrow, and always. Amen.