2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27; Psalm 130; (or Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15, 2:23-24; Lamentations 3:21-33 or Psalm 30); 2 Corinthians 8:7-15; Mark 5:21-43
“There is nothing in which people more betray their character than in what they laugh at.” – Johann Wolfgang van Goethe
Laughing is healthy. Laughing is good therapy for illness. People look better when they laugh. Watch someone laughing and notice that all the facial winkle lines are in all the right places. However, not all laughter is the same. Sometimes laughter comes from cynicism and pessimism. That is what is going on when we laugh “at” someone rather than “with” the person. In today’s Gospel, when Jesus arrives at the home of Jairus, he tells the people who are mourning the death of Jairus’ daughter that the child is not dead but only sleeping. They laugh at him. (Mark 5:39-40) This is not a healthy laugh; and they betray their character. (Goethe quote above) When Jesus was on the road to see the little girl he stops suddenly and asks “Who touched me?” His disciples respond “How can you say that? Everyone’s touching you.” (Mark 5:30-31) Our text does not say the disciples laughed at him, but their response betrays a cynicism near mockery. Perhaps they were inwardly laughing at Jesus’ stupid question. The scoffers in today’s Gospel lack vision and imagination. But Jairus, and the woman with the hemorrhage who touched Jesus, were both long sighted and full of hope in spite of all odds. Just imagine, when all was said and done, the Jairus family and the woman with her friends laughing with uncontrollable joy that caused ecstatic tears. Now that is laughing “with” each other. God’s creation is never done. It seems that laughter is the rapturous response to witnessing God at work. There should be a scripture that reads “In the beginning was the laugh, and the laugh was with God, and the laugh was God.”
Mark 5:29 says that the “hemorrhage” of the woman stopped. This is sometimes also translated “the source of the bleeding” or “the flow of blood” or simply “her bleeding.” However, the word Mark uses in the Greek is very picturesque. He says “Her fountain (or spring) of blood stopped.
In the beginning
laughed God the world to be made.
Now laugh together.