13 Feb

Text and image by Rick McVicar             

     Who gets to decide the fate of women’s health? 

     The Gospel of Mark demonstrates a concern for women and girls in the fifth chapter when Jesus saves the lives of a young girl and a hemorrhaging woman (vs. 21-43, NRSV).        

     The two stories are smashed together. Jesus is alerted of the girl’s condition and inadvertently heals the woman on his way to save the girl. His clothes give off healing power as he walks through a crowd (vs. 27-29).             

     In these stories, nature turns scary as death becomes a clear and present danger, even for a child. The gospel writer does not deny the reality of death. In fact, the writer likes to dangle the prospect of death in the reader’s eye, giving predictions of Jesus’ death as the story progresses.             

     Now we all like to deny the reality of death. It is a comfortable way to head off anxieties. Of course, the denial of death may have its consequences, such as spurring addictive behavior.             

     Can we say the same for the denial of climate change?  

     It, too, is a comfortable way to head off anxieties. But then, it has its consequences as well, with addictions to plastics, gasoline and coal.             

     That said, Mark jerks the welcoming mat from death’s door. When Jesus arrives at the girl’s home, he declares her merely asleep (v. 39). People who have been bawling their eyes out all of a sudden laugh at Jesus (v. 40).             

     The writer at times can be a bit of a comedian. He uses humor to prod and poke into the reader’s imagination.             

     There is one tidbit in these stories I find interesting. The woman being healed by Jesus’ clothes has been hemorrhaging for 12 years. The girl being saved from death is 12 years old. The number 12 ties these two stories together.             

     I wonder if the writer of Mark played the numbers. He does seem to have placed bets on life and death decisions.             

     May you have artful health while you are reflecting on health, wellness, life and death.                                         

A footprint.

Title: Death's Door. Click on image to go to animated poetry video on YouTube.

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