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WHEN DOES THE HEALING START?

(A Responsive Meditation Based on Mark 1. 40-45)
Leader: Millions of people today experience the plight of the leper in the Markan passage every single day. The healthy stay away from them. The healthy have stopped talking with them. The healthy have stopped interacting with them. The healthy stand from afar and watch them die.
People: What is the difference between illness and disease? Disease is physical. Illness is social. We, the un-sick, create and name the illnesses that keep us safely distanced from the sick. We, the un-sick, create the borders that keep the sick away from us. We, the un-sick, have access to the funds and the medicines that can help the sick live longer lives. We, the un-sick, decide who is ill and who is not.
All: Many times, we, the un-sick, create the rules, the fences, the sanctions, the systems that make the sick sicker, the weak weaker, and the dying dead.

Leader: In the Markan passage, we find the story of a leper. A person very much like a person with HIV or AIDS. He is considered unclean. People are told to keep away from him. People are told not to speak to him. People are told not to touch him. Though alive, society considers him dead.
People: What is life without companionship? What is life without conversation? What is life without the warmth of a human touch?
All: God did not create people to be alone. In life, in death, in life beyond death, we are not supposed to be alone.

Leader: To celebrate Immanuel is to celebrate God-with-us. We are not alone. We shall never, ever, be alone. Yet, many among us, the leper of ages gone, the person with HIV or AIDS today, are alone.
People: To celebrate Immanuel is to follow Jesus, Love Incarnate.
All: In the Markan passage, we find the story of a leper. A person very much like a person with HIV or AIDS. He is considered unclean. People are told to keep away from him. People are told not to speak to him. People are told not to touch him. Though alive, society considers him dead.
Leader: Yet Jesus, Love Incarnate, came near him, spoke to him, and touched him. Jesus did what society told him not to do. In the companionship, in the conversation, in the warmth of a human touch, the walls the un-sick created to separate and to isolate the sick were torn down.
People: When does the healing start? Does it start with medicines or with technology? Does it start in hospitals or in churches? Does it start with prayer or with the much-needed deposit or all-important HMO card? When does the healing start?
All: Or does it start when we realize that we are each other's keepers, that we are all God's children and thus sister and brother to each other, and that one's pain is everybody's pain, and that one's struggle is everybody's struggle, and that one's healing is everybody's healing, and that one's resurrection is everybody's resurrection.




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