There is an absurd element to our Gospel story about the healing of Jairus' 12 year old daughter. In the whole of Mark we hear a regular refrain of Jesus demanding that people keep quiet about the miracles he performs, and yet....and yet Jesus does all these miracles quite openly.
Jairus comes to Jesus with a large crowd gathered around him asking Jesus to come and save his daughter. Jesus goes and the crowd follows along. During that walk Jesus is touched by the woman who has been hemorrhaging for 12 years and cures her, and has a full blown discussion in the middle of those crowds about her miracle cure. They arrive at Jairus' home only to find weeping and lamenting over his daughter's death. The crowd sees this and knows Jairus' loss. Jesus shrinks the amount of people with whom he goes into the residence and then kicks everybody out of the room and cures the 12 year old girl.... And then tells everyone not to spread the news.
This is absurd. The crowds saw Jairus come begging for help. The crowds saw Jesus' reaction and interaction with the hemorrhagic woman. The crowds saw the weeping and lamenting of the people of Jairus' home over the 12 year old's death. The crowds saw Jesus go in to the girl. And the girl comes out, alive, with Jesus instructing that she be fed. To keep silence about these miracles and who performed them is an absurd element to the story.
There are numerous theological understandings and reasons explaining Mark's insistence on keeping quiet, "as the time has not yet come", as the phrase goes. And that is not an unreasonable theme to have during the Season of Lent....for we know where Jesus is headed... to Jerusalem...and the Passion....and Good Friday.... and Easter Sunday.... and Ascension Day.... and Pentecost. So the absurdity of this known secret highlighted by today's Gospel account is a good reminder that we need to live in the now, in this Season, before we can get to the next.
Perhaps it is like reading the last two chapters of a novel, first thing, and then reading the whole of the book. Those who do that like to be able to know what is coming, and perhaps better appreciate and understand how they get to the end..... How are we living in this moment in Lent, with that crazy, absurd and yet beautiful knowledge of where we are going to end up?
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.