Can you see Benny Hinn? You know the healer on TV. The one that walks through the crowds, whacking people on the head, declaring “You’re Healed!”
I have to confess I sometimes pause to watch these clips and make snarky remarks–either to the folks I’m watching with or just in my own head. Who’d pay money to get whacked on the head? Who’d expect healing from that?
And yet in this week’s gospel passage we see not one but two healings. As a pastor I find it much easier to grapple with the doubts of Thomas or the disbelief of Nicodemus than a passage like this. Goodness, I’d even rather tackle the passage about Herodias (stay tuned for that one later this summer!) In addition to my Gen X skeptic-self, I have to say I find these stories of miracle healings a little dangerous. Perhaps that’s what makes them miraculous, but I digress.
You see, in the world of theology, we can be known to differentiate healing from cure. Healing is finding a deeper sense of peace and oneness and does not always result in a physical cure. Except that doesn’t work with this passage. The woman with the hemorrhage stops bleeding after 12 years. That seems like a cure to me. Jairus’s daughter rises from death. Again, this seems awfully cure-like. Miracle cures attributed to faith. Jesus even says to the woman with the hemorrhage–“Your faith has made you well.”
I don’t know about you, but this seems to dance at a fine line. Faith and healing. Faith and curing. Faith and fixing. Can’t you just hear the if onlys, the shoulda, woulda, couldas? I don’t know about any of you, but I have known good, faithful people whose miracle cure didn’t look anything like what they would have hoped…and I’ve known people who weren’t so good or faithful whose miracle cure seemed made to order…and I’ve known people people whose miracle cure looked kinda like what they prayed for but the reality was no so miraculous. Seems to me when we try to analyze, categorize, mathematicize God’s work in the world, we can get ourselves into trouble.