Bliss to be alive

Aung San SuuKyi is making her first trip outside Burma for over 20 years. She has been under house arrest for most of that time and only recently allowed to travel. It is a Mandela moment. When she reached Ireland people were simply in awe of her and she was deeply moved by the expressions of welcome and solidarity she received.

Why do we so much admire people who take a stand and persevere no matter how tough the consequences? One reason is surely that they represent what is best in us – and that must mean the hunger for life at its most noble. The gift of life itself is amazing, though we often don’t think about it. But the stretching of lifeto its fullness whether it is in sport or politics or any other craft is more amazing still.

There are two dramatic incidents in Mark’s chapter 5 which show this. There is the poor woman who had been troubled by a haemorrhage for 12 years and the doctors can do nothing. ‘She had heard about Jesus’ and that was enough for her to make an extraordinary gesture.

She forces her way through the crowd, gets up close to him and touches his garment, saying to herself, ‘even touching his clothes will be enough to cure me.’ And it was.

The other incident is of a synagogue official; we even have his name, Jairus. He has a dying daughter aged 12. He pleads with Jesus to heal her.

The child dies and Jairus and his friends give up hope. But then we have one of those extraordinary moments when Jesus turns things upside-down. He goes to the house anyway and takes the girl by the hand and raises her up.

The last book of the Old Testament to be written, the Book of Wisdom, is a sort of reflection on the whole Jewish story so far. In the first chapter the writer says ‘death was never part of God’s plan… To be –for this he created all.’ God rejoices in life, especially life lived in all its fullness.

That nameless woman went beyond herself as Aung San SuuKyi has done and as countless women are doing in every corner of the planet. And Jairus too pleaded against all hope and seemed at first to have been let down.

Yet he was rewarded beyond his dreams. Life is a beautiful thing as we well know and as the poets often remind us. Wordsworth called it ‘bliss’ to be alive.

Post published in: Faith

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *