20 Jul

Little Girl, Arise

talitha cumYesterday evening 50 people gathered at St Peter’s in Woolton and we read through Mark’s Gospel together.

As I listened expectantly, prayerfully I was asking God for what I call His ‘holy highlighter’ to make something from His word jump out of the reading to stir the Kingdom in my heart and mind.  I think my prayer was answered with a huge, YES, here it is….

As chapter 5 was read the words ‘Talitha cum’ resonated, my soul fizzed and a kaleidoscope of ways in which Jesus is still saying ‘Talitha cum’ unfurled in my mind.

In the Gospel, Jesus says ‘Talitha cum,’ which means ‘Little girl, arise,’ to the centurion’s daughter who has died whilst Jesus was delayed on his journey to her.  She is restored, walks about and Jesus tells those caring for her to give her something to eat.

As I listen, those words echo through the centuries and Jesus says ‘Talitha cum, little girl, arise’ to His disicples, to the early Church, to the Church through history, to us to restore life now.

To His bride, the church, that is being lamented as dormant, irrelevant, dying, Jesus says, ‘Talitha cum.’  Get up church, arise. Don’t listen to the voices saying it is too late.  Live like the kingdom is near. With 50 people listening to the Gospel being read, signs of life are visible and encouraging.

To the women of the Church, as an Anglican my thoughts are particularly focused on the Church of England and the advent of a gender mixed episcopate, Jesus says ‘Talitha cum, little girl arise.’ Get up girls, take the opportunities that are open to us, walk around in the fullness of life, eat alongside our brothers. Shake off that imposter syndrome, don’t wait for male colleagues to ratify your ideas little girl, arise!

With that phrase, Talitha cum, jumping out of the reading I heard the rest of the Gospel with ‘little girl, arise’ acting as a lens, changing what I heard.

Talitha cum, as Jesus warns his disciples to remain alert, to watch out for His return, He says, “Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.” Talitha cum. Keep awake, little girl, arise.  Don’t slumber.  Wait but not passively.  Arise whilst you wait, be vigilant, be creative build the Kingdom.

Talitha cum, to His disciples, the fledgling church, who fall asleep when He asks them to pray at Gethsemane. No longer gentle words of healing but a passionate, powerful call to action. “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough!” Tailtha cum.

With Christ’s words calling me to awake and arise, the Bishop’s letter telling me I am ‘ready’ to seek an incumbent status post echoes the call. Talitha cum.

wakey wakey small