Jesus and the ‘Victorian Bushfire Tragedy’


David MacGregor, a pastor the Uniting Church in Australia, recently posted a wonderful sermon on Jesus touching and healing the leper (Mark 1:40-45). He used a spirituality column I wrote in January 2005 called The Sense of Touch to examine the experience of touch alongside the powerful images of people embracing each other amid the Victorian bushfire tragedy. Please continue you prayers for all those affected by the fires.

David serves at Indooroopilly Uniting Church in Brisbane and serves on the UCA’s National Working Group on Worship. Below is an excerpt from David’s sermon:

When the leper approaches Jesus, he is, in fact, going against the Law. This said that he should have called out to warn Jesus and the disciples that he was unclean and that they should keep away. Instead, in desperation, he comes to Jesus and speaks directly to Him. In his wretched state, he has seen in Jesus someone who could heal him – the question was did Jesus want to heal someone who was ritually unclean – who, some said, was leprous because of some sin?

Jesus, of course, wants to and reaches out and touches him – strictly speaking, making Himself unclean in the process. At once – immediately (how often do we hear that word in Mark’s gospel?! the leprosy leaves the man and he is healed. Jesus reaches out and touches him …

This past week, night after night on our TV screens we’ve watched footage of devastated bushfire victims hugging another victim close, folk – Kevin Rudd included, placing a comforting hand on the shoulder of a bushfire survivor. There’s something about touch.

Read David’s whole sermon here.