This morning I’m thinking of my family and the loss of our dear Aunt to cancer. She was a part of us and now she’s not here anymore and I’m not ok with that. Mercifully, she’s no longer in pain, and I am grateful for that. The pain and relief of loss is a remarkably awkward blend.
I take comfort in the idea that God is listening. God heard Hagar’s cry in the desert and saved her and her young outcast son. Her son Ishmael would become the father of our Muslim friends and neighbors. God heard Rebecca’s prayer as she urged her son Jacob to flee his twin brother’s (justified) wrath. Rebecca’s son Jacob would became the father of our Jewish friends and neighbors. God was present for both men, Ishmael and Jacob, and gave them hope. God reached into their narrative, and that story would be passed down through the generations.
God was present with the outcast lepers who had to shout “unclean” as they walked through the community so people would know not to get too close. In the old order of things, if you touched something unclean, you became unclean as well. Then Jesus came along and touched a leper, and his goodness was catching. He reversed the flow of things. Instead of the overwhelming nature of evil, Jesus made the unclean clean in a perfectly effortless reach to touch another human marked by pain. He healed the lepers, restoring them to the community. Jesus gave them (and the rest of us) the ministry of reconciliation. Talk about turning the world on it’s ear. I sometimes forget to live like goodness is catching. The world seems overwhelming some days, and I forget the revolutionary power of reaching to touch someone in intentional compassion.
The goodness is catching.