01.04.2020 Reach out
A Bible Reading: Mark 1:40-42
A man with leprosy came to Jesus and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.
The disease of leprosy was a major scourge in Jesus’ time, with lepers becoming outcasts from their families and communities. It remained so until the middle of the last century when it was treated with antibiotics. Even so, there are many countries today where leprosy is still prevalent for want of simple antibiotics.
Leprosy was thought to be transmitted through physical contact, so it is remarkable that Jesus overcame the social stigma and religious rules of his day to reach out and touch a leper in order to heal him.
Coronavirus may not be like Leprosy as a disease, but it evokes a similar fear today and leaves many people isolated from family and friends and struggling. Apart from within a family group or household, physical contact is not possible today. But we can still reach out to others to encourage them, by phone or through the internet, and so enable people to remain connected. We do this naturally with our families and friends, but can we widen our circle? Can we reach out to someone who may be isolated, through sickness or through vulnerability, someone to whom we wouldn’t normally reach out? Can we be like Jesus and reach out to those who feel like outcasts today?
Lord Jesus, you reached out to the outcasts and welcomed the sinners. I pray for all those who are struggling alone, that their needs will be met by their communities and that they will know the comfort of your Holy Spirit. Help me today to reach out to someone who is feeling isolated and vulnerable, and to offer them a word of encouragement.