Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
In the Hebrew Scriptures, one verb that appears over and over is קוּם, pronounced “koom.” It means “Get up.” Almost always, it is God, or God’s messenger, who says it.
The people of Israel knew loss of life, loss of home, and even loss of faith. Over and over, they were knocked down. And over and over, God says, “Koom.” Get up.
When hardship and suffering knock us down, we too hear God calling us to “get up,” because God knows we have to. Resilience is required. That’s why God calls in a voice we cannot resist.
But unless our needs are provided for, we will soon fall again. Think of Elijah the prophet (1 Kings): During a drought, God told him to get up and go to Zaraphath. When he got there, God provided for him community with a widow and her son. When God calls us to get up, God also provides community for us, to keep us on our feet.
Jesus also tells people to get up. In today’s story, he says it to a child everyone thinks is dead: “Little girl, get up.” Surprisingly, Mark records his words not in Greek but in Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke): “Talitha cum.”
There it is, handed down from Hebrew: KOOM! And then Jesus says to her community, “Give her something to eat.” Even as he calls the individual to rise, he calls the community to hold up the risen.
If it is a miracle for the dead to rise, is it not also a kind of miracle for the living? Even when we think we can never rise again, God’s call to get up is irresistible. And as we rise, Jesus says to our Christian community what he said to the little girl’s parents: “Give her something to eat.”
Ginny Tobiassen, pastor, Home Moravian Church,
Winston-Salem, North Carolina