This morning is an extraordinary morning in our life! We have guests with us who are part of our worldwide GAFCON - that is Global Anglican Future - family!
We were grieved at GAFCON when we found out that the whole delegation from South Sudan, including Archbishop Paul Yugasuk, were detained at their border and prevented from coming to the GAFCON meetings in Jerusalem!
But friends, God has brought S. Sudan to us! As you will hear in a few minutes, our family is large and diverse, colorful and passionate for Jesus!
We welcome our new family members, new to us, but known to God, and sent to be His messengers of joy and ... how did Paul put it in his letter?...
[2Co 8:1-2 NASB] 1 ... the grace of God which has been given in the churches of [S. Sudan], that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.
Friends, we welcome you as family.
We will hear from our new family at the Offertory as they bring us into their hearts with a sample of their worship as their choir sings!
Now this morning I want to preach on the passage that is missing from our reading! If you look at the passage from Mark this morning, you note that there is a gap in the reading. Something happened on the way to Jairus' house! Anyone?
Let me fill in the gap:
[Mar 5:25-34 NASB]
A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse-- after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind [Him] and touched His cloak. For she thought, "If I just touch His garments, I will get well." Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power [proceeding] from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My garments?" And His disciples said to Him, "You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'" And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction."
This morning many things have converged to make a message for us from the Lord.
While I was on the trip to the Holy Land, I wanted to return to the chapel of Mary Magdalene on the NW shore of the Sea of Galilee, in her home town of Magdala, present day Migdal. Yakov was kind enough to take the Friday morning and drive me the half hour or so over to the lake and we spent the morning together in this chapel.
Some of you have seen the pictures of the boat shaped altar in the main chapel that is so striking with its view through the window of the lake. The chapel is called in Latin - Duc im Altum meaning Into the Deep! It is the place commemorated for Jesus teaching in the boat and then telling the disciple-fishermen to push out 'into the deep' and put down their nets for a catch.
Friends, we are being called out "into the deep" to put down our nets for a catch!
In the basement of that church on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, is a chapel - they call it the Chapel of the Feet! Why, because it was also in this area of Galilee where the passage I just read actually happened, and the chapel has been built to recall these mighty acts of Jesus.
But this act of Jesus, was not something He did! It was something the woman did. Jesus was focused on His mission of healing - He was "on the way!" But she was focused on one thing, "If I can only touch the hem - actually the TsiTsit - the "tassle" or fringe of a Jewish rabbi's cloak - "if I can only touch the hem of his garment..."
The other piece of "coincidence" this morning is that we are approaching the 4th of July, the commemoration of our own independence in the US. And today is the day of prayer that we refer to as "The Call 2 Fall!"
Friends, during our prayers in a few minutes I am going to ask some guys to bring our kneelers down her to the front, and we have some prayers for our nation and our government printed out. I am going to ask several of you to come and kneel and lead us in these prayers here, as we all, as we're able humbly kneel.
The woman in the midst of the crowd, got down on her knees, maybe she was laying on the road, with people stepping around her, and Jesus passing her by. But her faith was strong and her determination was to reach out and touch, to take ahold of Jesus and her healing, by faith.
Friends, that is what I want to commend to us today!
What do you need to take ahold of Jesus for? Is it something in your own life, an illness or some trouble? Is it in the life of another, a loved one or friend? Is it for our church, as we find our new home here in this place? Is it for those who are not yet members here - whom God is calling? Or perhaps, today, we are being called to fall!
To fall on our knees in prayer, like the woman, to take ahold of Jesus - specifically for our nation, its leadership and governance, its people and their unique situations in life.
In thanksgiving for all that God has so graciously provided for us in this nation! To ask for his mercy in our waywardness; for His light to shine from this place, this light house on a hill! Look out over the city - open your eyes to see His hand - reach out your hand to touch the hem of His garment.
I don't need to spend much more time on the need for prayer. I think we need to pray!
As we stand, I would like some guys to help move the kneelers down to the front here.
Some of you have been tapped by the Holy Spirit to come and kneel and pray. I have some prayers printed out that you can pray, but you are also free to come and lead us in a prayer from your heart. Make them short and to the point! Let's lay hold of Jesus this morning and touch the Hem of His garment!
Let us stand and confess the Faith of our Fathers, in the words of the Nicene Creed...