Today's reading: Mark 7:24-37
The two healing stories in today's reading have many elements in common with stories throughout the gospels: Jesus tries to go away unnoticed, but can't escape those seeking him. He encounters someone who is a cultural outsider. He gets rid of unclean spirits, and he restores the physical senses. He performs a miracle from long-distance, and another from just about as close-up as it is possible to get. He asks those he has healed to keep quiet about their experience, and they go out and tell everybody they know.
There's an aspect of both of these stories that also occurs in other of Jesus' healings, and I find it challenging, encouraging, hopeful. In each case--the demon-possessed daughter, and the deaf and mute man--the person in need of healing is unable to ask for help, and the request is brought to Jesus by loved ones: an agonizing mother, some assertive friends.
On the faith of those who love, Jesus heals those who suffer.
What a gift--to know that my friends, my family can carry me to Christ when I can't make the way to him myself.
And what a challenge, what a calling--to be the friend who will pray, follow, beseech, walk, see, hear, speak on behalf those who can't. God help me to be such a friend.