Telling the story from the inside out

I noticed a small thing today. One of those little places in the world that seem to radiate meaning and order when you are in the right frame of mind. I found it in the middle of the account of the woman healed by touching Jesus’ garment–an event which is itself in the middle of the story of Jairus’ daughter.

It’s easier to see in reading than to hear in the telling, so if you look at the center of the story, you’ll find these carefully constructed sentences:

For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.”  And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, “Who touched my garments?”

There’s a lovely bit of symmetry in the telling of this miracle. At the story’s core is the moment of connection and perception: where the woman feels in her body that she is healed and Jesus perceives that the power has gone forth. Two sentences side-by-side, and on either side of those perceptions, wrapping the moment like a cloak, are the two phrases about touching Jesus’ garments.

You can read through the stories of Jairus’ daughter and the woman linearly–and you have to to get the narrative straight. But if you think of them as a whole, as a story-within-a-story, it’s as if Mark has written from the inside out, everything radiating from the place where faith touches the Divine.


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