Shunned through no fault of my own
Ostracised, left on my own
Twelve long years since I could be
Living in community
Barred from Temple worship
Food I touch unfit to eat
Others shun me, fear me
Avoid me in the street
Loneliness my clothing
Shame my daily meat
Hopelessness embraces me
Until… until… there comes the day
When news arrives of One who heals
Hitherto death-bringing ills
Touching even lepers
He seems to have no fear of taint
Never speaks words of complaint
Never turns a need away
Always welcomes, day by day
Sick in body, mind or soul –
Touches them and makes them whole
If I wait ’til He comes here
Then I’ll never be let near
Folk’ll know that I’m unclean
I don’t want to make a scene
So I’ll go to Him, away
From those who see me day by day
And just for once, I’ll push my way
Through the crowds – they’ll never know
I shouldn’t be there. As they flow
Around me, I’ll just touch his hem
No need to trouble Him – and then
I’ll quietly slip away
That was my plan – but now it seems
My plans are just the stuff of dreams
I’ll swear I only touched his hem –
So how was it He knew?
For in that moment, He turned round
The crowd was hushed – never a sound
Until he spoke “My daughter, know
That you are well” and it was so
All those years of self-effacement
Swept away – no self-abasement
Now for me – I’ve been set free
Cleansed by His boundless purity
I also offer you this background to today’s readings
And for those amongst you who are Pratchett fans (naming no names Graham and Rachel Hartland) I find myself thinking of Granny Weatherwax – the only person to be bitten by a vampire and not become one herself. Oh, she had a bit of an internal battle… but then instead of her craving blood, the vampires who’d drunk her blood found themselves, strangely, craving a nice cup of tea!
That’s what happens when our impurity touches and is touched by the purity of Jesus. Our impurity is transformed into purity and we belong. We belong to Jesus’ in-group which consists, in case you haven’t noticed, of the entire world.
He is the light that lightens everyone who comes into the world.
He said that when He was lifted up He would draw all to Himself – and by implication to God.
My brothers, my sisters – today may you all know that you belong.
My brothers, my sisters – today may all whom you meet know through you that they belong.
Lord Jesus, I come to you just as I am.
Needing healing of body, mind, spirit.
Thank you that as I reach out to you, you are already reaching out to me
Enfolding me in your arms
Wiping every tear from my eye
As I step into today, strengthen me with your strength
Fill me with your love
And as daily I am more and more broken by life,
May your love in me flow ever more freely to all whom I meet
May I become your eyes, ears, feet, hands, heart in this broken world.