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Sermon II for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost Year B June 30, 2024

Let Go and Let God (Mark 5:22-43)

"Let go and let God?” this is a popular phrase in our society…

But let me ask you, “Have you ever tried to live into that simple sounding solution for the burdens and challenges of life?”

What exactly does it mean?

I believe the phrase is based on the Old Testament book Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11-

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Well, that sure sounds like God is in control and that he has our back!

But here’s the thing,

   how do we let go,

    how do we allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to trust God,

    how do we recognize that what we are doing on our own just isn’t working?!

Faith is trusting someone, completely…

 for Christians that means trusting God in all things.

When I was in seminary, one of our assignments for our preaching class was to describe “faith” without using the word, this is what I came up with:

When our daughter was in the 4th grade she was playing at a friend’s house, she fell and hurt her arm. When I saw her I knew her arm was broken. I gave her children’s Tylenol and we headed off to the ER. Sure enough, her arm was broken above the elbow, and she needed surgery. As the nurse was putting an IV in, she told Julie that she could give her something for pain. Julie just looked up at her, smiled, and said, “I’m not in pain, my mom gave me Tylenol.”

Faith in action, the faith of a child

Julie trusted her mom who had always been there for her.

Trusting someone completely to have your best interest at heart,

 trusting that you will be cared for with love and compassion.

  Trusting that God will be with you and help you as you face the challenges of life.

  Trusting that in your time of need, God will put the right person in front of you…

   someone who will help not hurt you

Let’s face it we all carry burdens, we face challenges of work, money, sickness, loneliness, loss of mobility, death… the list is endless

We’re all vulnerable…so in that vulnerability who do we turn too?

Do we let go and let God?

Do we turn to God in prayer? And if so, what does that look like?

For me, I often just talk to God throughout the day, saying things that are on my mind.

Other times I do formal prayers like what we use in worship or at meals, or bedtime,

Sometimes I just sing my favorite hymns, hymns that bring me peace and comfort.

Or do we worry and stress and try to figure it out on our own, determined to maintain our perceived control of life?

Do we accept Jesus’ offer to come to him when we are weary and burdened, and he’ll give us rest?

 Or do we stubbornly power on, spiraling deeper and deeper into despair and pain. Our egos and our pride telling us that we are more powerful and have more control over the situation than we really do?

 We talk a lot about our faith in Christ, but our understanding is often unclear, we’re not sure what that looks like in our daily lives.

We don’t like being vulnerable

Not even a little…

and yet it is in our vulnerability that we find the strength to reach out for help, to trust that someone else has the ability to take away our burdens and pain.

How many times have we been down in the dumps, when we receive an unexpected call or visit from someone we love?

We often see these occurrences as coincidental, but my friends, they are the acts of God in our lives.

God, seeing our pain, knowing our need, sending a ray of hope into a hopeless situation.

We do this with our daily problems too…

Instead of turning to God in prayer,

 instead of asking others to pray for us,

  instead of coming to church where we are surrounded by our faith community, friends, family, God,

  instead of welcoming God’s presence and help,

   we isolate ourselves,

 becoming more and more burdened, worn out, hopeless.


Our Gospel reading today shows us 2 examples of “letting go and letting God” in action.

2 examples of faith born out of desperation

2 examples of Jesus responding to both the insider and the outsider, healing both because of their faith in him

Their faith in who he is and what he does

First, we have Jairus, who has a daughter who is very sick, possibly even dying’

Jairus is an insider in Jewish life, he’s a leader in the local synagogue, he’s used to making decisions, he’s used to helping others…

Now he himself needs help and so he falls before Jesus, begging him to help his little girl, begging him to heal her!

Second, we have the older woman, who because of her disease is no longer welcome in the Jewish community, she is the outsider in this story.

She has no name, no power, no voice.

 and yet she’s heard of Jesus, and she believes that even though she is unworthy to directly ask for his help and healing,

if she can just touch his robe, he will heal her, and her pain will be gone.

Today this desperation to be healed might look like someone with a terminal illness who has tried all the tried-and-true medical cures without success and finally opts for an experimental treatment in the hope that healing will occur.

There is immense desperation in both victims…

These stories are shared so that we can believe in the power of God shown through Jesus his son.

These stories give truth to God’s promise that his plans for us are for our good not disaster.

They also show us that the journey, the healing, the restoration of wholeness and hope is not linear.

Just as life itself is not linear.

They show us that sometimes the healing is immediate and sometimes it is delayed but in the end it happens.

Let’s admit it, when we pray, we expect immediate results…

 these stories show us that healing occurs

 in God’s time,

  at God’s discretion,

    according to God’s will.

Jairus, must have been going out of his mind with fear for his daughter, when Jesus stops to identify and speak to the older woman.

He must have been incredulous that Jesus would stop for this woman who had no voice, no value in the community.

Think about it…haven’t we all wondered why someone we perceive as less deserving received what we wanted?

Yet Jairus remained quiet, and when he was told that his daughter had died, I imagine that his heart broke, fear overwhelmed him, and he felt like he was drowning in hopelessness.

But Jesus turns to him, telling Jairus to stop being afraid, to trust Jesus, basically saying all is not lost as long as you have faith in me.

Jesus was letting Jairus know that in God’s time healing would occur, even with this delay along the way.

For the woman, healing was immediate,

for Jairus, healing of his daughter took a detour before it occurred

The Good News is this:

 when we put our trust in God, he doesn’t let us down.

Instead God walks with us, sending what or who we need to help us through to the other side, to help us move from hopelessness, back to hope.

It’s easy to have faith in God when our lives are good, our burdens light and easily solved.

The challenge for us is to continue to have faith when our burdens overwhelm us,

  to remember that being vulnerable and needing help is not a bad thing, it doesn’t make us a loser.

Indeed, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable gives us strength, the strength to reach out and touch Jesus’ robe

Being vulnerable allows us to let others help us, being a blessing to us in our times of need.

Being vulnerable allows us to live into the saying, “let go and let God.”

Jairus and the woman both came out on the other side of their burdens and fear-- transformed, and amazed

We are transformed when we put our trust in God and his plan for us

May we always seek God in our lives, may we learn to Let go and let God. Amen