2 Samuel 18:9-19:3; Ps 86 Listen , Lord, and answer me; Mark 5:21-43
We continue to follow the saga of king David and his reign over Israel. Today we pick up with his son, Absalom who has rebelled against him.
We find Absalom hanging from a tree by his hair (2 Samuel 18:9-10) "Absalom unexpectedly came up against David's servants. He was mounted on a mule, and, as the mule passed under the branches of a large terebinth, his hair caught fast in the tree."
This reminds me of the many westerns I grew up watching. Usually each movie contained a pursuit of sorts on horseback. And eventually in the pursuit someone would get knocked off his horse by a low lying limb of a tree because they were not attentive and did not duck low enough.
Such is the case with Absalom, except he gets hung by low lying beaches by his hair. Absalom in his hurry to get away doesn't duck low enough. This is ironic because ducking is a sign of humility.
Now to understand the scene a little better, it is important to get to know the man, Absalom. If we journey a few chapters back to 2 Samuel 14:25 and following we get the picture of Absalom more clearly, "In all of Israel there was no man praised for his beauty than Absalom, flawless from the sole of his foot tot eh crown of his head. When he shaved his head-as he used to do at the end of every year, because his hair became to heavy for him-the hair weighed two hundred shekels according to the royal standard…(2.5 kilograms)
You get the image. Absalom was Fabio of his day and age.
He liked himself. He was the quintessential pretty boy. He took great care in his appearance and especially in his hair. Yet, it was this vanity, this pride that gets him stuck in tree. Hair today gone tomorrow:).
This is what the writer of Samuel is telling us. Pride and vanity cause separation and ultimately destruction. Absalom's pride not only separated him from his father and the nation of Israel it eventually led to him being separated from life itself.
Now having said these things we look to gospel for today. We see Jesus caught up in another action packed day of healing.
Yesterday we saw Jesus cure the man possessed and restore him to his family. Today he brings restoration to the women who had 12 years of hemorrhaging. She, because of her illness, was isolated from society. By her contact with Jesus she is brought back into the community.
Jairus, the father, approaches Jesus because his daughter is sick and on the verge of death, again being separated from life. Through his contact with Jesus, the daughter is reunited with her family.
Jesus in his ministry seeks to bring forth a better sense of belonging, of community. He brings forth unity, restoration of communion amongst people.
After all, it is by his blood we are reconciled back to the Father. Jesus's ministry is always focused on making individuals a apart of a communion. Jesus is about community building exercises. Everything he does is about communion: preaching, healing, being crucified.
What is Jesus? Jesus is the humility of God in the flesh. God humbles himself and becomes man. In this humility man is restored to communion, to community. Absalom's pride brings isolation and disunity; God humility if Jesus brings restoration and unity.
Where pride brings forth separation, humility makes communion.
This is the lesson for today and it is good for us to be attentive.
Do we build walls of separation because of pride or communion in humility. Are we like Absalom caught op in pride and vanity or Jesus, who's humility brings healing and restoration?
Only life lived can answer the question posed!