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Praying about Jesus’s miracles: Touching the fringe of his cloak

Lynne Baab • Tuesday June 25 2024

Praying about Jesus’s miracles: Touching the fringe of his cloak

Ten years ago this week, I wrote the first post on this blog. I’m praising God for this cool anniversary. Today, I’ll begin with some reflections about blog writing and then get to some miracles that I had never noticed before, described briefly by Mark and Matthew.

In 2014, my website had been in existence for about a decade. I viewed it as a place to promote my books and make articles that I’d written for magazines available. I got the idea of having a blog on my website to further promote my books, so I hired a wonderful web designer (Blair Hughson at Coredev). On June 26, 2014, I uploaded that first blog post focused on breath prayer.

I have written one post almost every week for ten years. Sometimes, when my schedule was heavy, I took material from the two out-of-print books I’ve written for which I have the copyright. Some of those series from my books focused on Celtic spirituality, the Benedictine tradition, worshipping God the creator, and initiative in friendship. I’ve also written on various topics related to Christian spirituality and discipleship. Every week, I feel God giving me words for my blog post. Every few months, I feel God giving me an idea for a series of posts.

In 2021, I wrote a long series of posts on Holy Spirit disruptions. Before that, around half of my posts focused on prayer. After that series, all my posts have focused on prayer. When I talk about my blog these days, I say that I blog every week about prayer. God has guided me into a new focus that is shaping my life in satisfying ways. The blog has become a ministry of its own, not primarily a place to promote my books. (That’s why I set up a Patreon page to reflect my awareness that this blog and my whole website are a ministry.)

My weekly blog posts give me joy in several areas. I take huge delight in my sense of partnership with God, who really does give me words week after week. I love hearing from readers that I am helping them pray in new ways. I also love how much I learn from researching and writing about the topics the Holy Spirit guides me into.

Each week, I’ve been consulting an online list of Jesus’s miracles to consider which miracle to write about next. (I am increasingly aware that it would have been good to write about Jesus’s miracles in chronological order rather than plucking them out of the flow of the Gospels. I thought the series would be pretty short, but I keep getting nudges to discuss another miracle.)

This morning, I consulted the list of miracles, and this entry jumped out at me: Jesus Heals Many Sick in Gennesaret as They Touch His Garment. What? I know that the woman in the crowd on the way to Jairus’s house touched Jesus’s garment, but others did, too? How did I miss this?

In Matthew 14:13-34, Jesus sends the disciples home across the Sea of Galilee so he can pray alone on a mountain near the lake. A wind comes up, and Jesus walks across the water to them. After that dramatic miracle, the disciples and Jesus land in Gennesaret, a short distance southwest of Capernaum.

Here’s what happens next: “After the people of that place recognized him, they sent word throughout the region and brought all who were sick to him, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed” (Matthew 14:35-36). The same story appears in Mark 6:53-56.

Jesus’s power is so formidable that touching the fringe of his cloak is enough to be healed. Jesus’s love is so strong that he allows his healing power to flow from his body into his clothes and from his clothes into the bodies of people in need of healing. Jesus’s desire to reveal and proclaim the kingdom of God is so strong that he heals people who touch even the fringe of his garment.

I wrote in early May about the Syrophonecian woman who boldly told Jesus that crumbs from his table are enough. In this story in Gennesaret, Jesus’s actions reinforce the same point. The love of God is immense, huge, enormous, boundless, immeasurable — and whatever additional synonyms you can think of. A small fragment of this love — a crumb, a touch of a fringe — is enough to transform our lives.

Much of the world today is heavily influenced by a scarcity model. We don’t have enough time, money, possessions, or friends. Our consumer culture tells us that we lack things, and more is always better, so we scramble for that “more” instead of resting in the generous gifts God has already given us. We have trouble seeing the precious moments when crumbs or a garment’s fringe are transformative. We are so busy and preoccupied that our vision constricts to the tasks at hand and our worry about the future, and we miss the abundance of a God whose love reaches to the heavens.

The highly motivated people who rushed to touch Jesus’s garment are a great model for us. They call us to pray that we would see the ways God works through small things. They invite us to trust that small places and moments in our lives can transform us because our powerful God is at work there.

As I started to write the prayer for this week, the lyrics of the Chris Tomlin song, “Indescribable,” came to mind. These words capture my feelings as I think about my joy in ten years of blogging and God's generosity in giving me words every week. I also resonate with these words when I think about the abundance we can see in Jesus’s miracles. (You can listen to Tomlin's song here.)

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea,
Creation’s revealing Your majesty.
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring,
Every creature unique in the song that it sings,
All exclaiming:

Indescribable, uncontainable.
You placed the stars in the sky
And You know them by name.
You are amazing, God.

All powerful, untameable.
Awestruck, we fall to our knees
As we humbly proclaim,
You are amazing, God. . . .

Incomparable, unchangeable.
You see the depths of my heart and you love me the same.
You are amazing, God.

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I am thrilled at the way the images of Dave's art look in my new book, Friendship, Listening, and Empathy: A Prayer Guide. I combined all my blog posts from late 2023 and early 2024 about friendship, loneliness, listening, and empathy into a book with color illustrations by my talented husband, Dave. The book has 28 short chapters, each one illustrated with one of Dave’s gorgeous watercolors. 

Next week: A miraculous catch of fish. Illustration by Dave Baab: Dunedin, New Zealand, train station and old prison, painted right about the time I wrote the first post for this blog. 

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