Summary: We must believe that the power of Jesus exceeds the power of sin.
A Season of Love- By Reverend A. LaMar Torrence
“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear. Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. How do you measure – measure a year? In daylights – In sunsets. In midnights – In cups of coffee. In inches – In miles. In laughter – In strife. Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. How do you measure. A year in the life. How about love? Measure in love – Seasons of love.”
The lyrics are the theme song of the film, “Rent” based on Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway musical. As a modern day version of the opera, La Boheme, Rent raises some controversial issues and subjects that the traditional church has a tendency to ignore, condemn, and/or criticize: lesbianism, homosexuality, drug addiction, identity crises, flat-out rebellion, and chaos. And as I watched the film and meditated on those lyrics, I had to surrender the “conservative holy-roller” within me to the compassionate Jesus-follower within. Why? Because that’s what Jesus would do. He would not see these characters as they were merely displayed on screen. He would see their hearts. Jesus would see the truth that lies beneath their identity crises, the cross-dressing Angel, the same-sex relationships, the heroin use of Mimi, and their bohemian life-style. Jesus would clearly see that all of these people were searching and reaching for something greater than them. They were searching for freedom, purpose, and above all else, acceptance and love.
I. How do you measure a year?
A. One could imagine how this unknown woman and Jairus spent the last twelve years of their lives prior to meeting Jesus. We know that this unknown woman had a medical condition of constant hemorrhaging. It would be a condition that would define and limit her life culturally, socially, financially, and religiously. She would be ‘unclean’. In Jewish tradition, unclean translated into ‘unfit’, ‘unworthy’, dirty, fifty, and inferior. And there is no doubt that she tried to escape from this label that society had placed on her through several doctor visits, trying the latest treatments, wholistic remedies, all of which exhausted her financially. This woman spent the last twelve years searching for a remedy to her condition. And see with modern day medicine, it may difficult for us to imagine spending every day of life with the medical condition that was permanent. Unless, you are living with HIV, diabetes, MS, Chrons disease, or something similar, it’s difficult for us to imagine a life that centered on medication, visiting doctors, and waking up ever morning with a condition. Maybe your life was one similar to Jairus whereby you spent it as family men, serving in the church, community, caring for your family and simply trying to do the right thing. There were no major disturbances in your life. Every day that you got home to see your loving children, you counted that as a good day. You had purpose. You knew that your life mattered.
II. The issues we have:
A. Until one day, trouble visits your home and your faith is tested. Everything you’ve worked for and striven toward seems to dissipate. And in your mind, it doesn’t make sense because you are a good person. You serve in the church, give to the community, you are morally upright, never committed in horrendous sins, and yet something occurs that begins to challenge your faith as a believer. And so you come to the one place looking for Jesus, like Jairus, because of an issue you have at home. This Jairus knew scripture, knew the traditions and rituals of the synagogue but he did not have the knowledge to heal is daughter. So it must have took great courage on his part as a leader in the synagogue to come out of the clique of pharasees, Sadducees, scribes, and other leaders that were criticizing Jesus to ask this man to come to his home and perform healing. Jairus was now risking his career, his friends, his ranking, as he broke ranks from the scorners and begged Jesus for help.
B. Simultaneously we see this woman with her 12 year issue also trying to get to Jesus. And she too is risking everything. She is about to commit a religious and cultural taboo. She is unclean and she is about to touch a holy man. Every Jew knows that that which the law has declared unclean cannot dwell in the presence of holiness and righteousness. One can be put the death.
C. Many people with issues are pressing towards Jesus. They are intermingled with the Sunday crowd of worshippers. They look just like you and I, but they have and issue that would classified them among the ‘unclean’, the outcast, the unacceptable people of our community. They have struggle with those issues; some turning to drugs, some finding solace in food and/or drink, some going through marital counseling, some in twelve step programs. They have struggled secretly with a variety of conditions.