Come let us bow down in worship. Name today’s preoccupations as they come to mind. Lay them down and present yourself with rare, true gratitude.
Bioscientific medicine has shaped Western culture since the Enlightenment but is now being re-evaluated in the light of pre-modern understandings of wholeness and the relation of healing to morality, society and the whole of life. As medical education moves away from merely applying textbook cures to symptoms, the symbolic and psychosomatic connections between sickness and soul healing, and indeed the healing of society, is conceived again, as medicine was practised in antiquity and is still practised in traditional medicines. This ancient synthesis has been revisited in modern writ in by many Western Christians, like Soren Kierkegaard and Larry Crabb. Jesus’ healings in the foreign territories north of Israel have something to say to us about the healing of cultures which are terminally ill with materialism and bigotry, and a deeper healing, of creation!
Jesus’ route to Sidon, then to the Ten Towns via Herod Philip’s Tetrarchy was likely to avoid Herod Antipas or the Galilean zealots who wanted to make Jesus King. Whereas Matthew describes several miracles here, Mark significantly details just this one. Jesus chooses a quieter place so that his patient will not be overwhelmed at first hearing, but also for his symbolic actions and words of healing to the Decapolis are the stuff of broken taboo, but Mark invites us to see much more. Christ’s incarnate touch,spit,sigh and word as he looks to heaven echo the pre-incarnate touch, mouth, breath and word at creation. Also, Jesus’ single Aramaic word anticipated the opening of all creation to God’s kingdom of reconciliation, healing and salvation.