OK... I did not come up with that title on my own.
That's what my rector used as a term in his sermon on Mark's story of the hemorrhaging woman, and the 12 year-old girl of Jarius, who was dead but Jesus brought her back to life. It is the perfect term for these imperfect times as the arguments heat up over health care. In case you missed it or were totally unplugged from any news source whatsoever, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Healthcare Act (often called "Obamacare") with the conservatives darling Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the majority. It was not the outcome many had expected, given the right-leaning nature of the Court. And it was the outcome many of us had hoped for as we live day-to-day without health insurance. Far from the perfect plan, at least I stand a chance of being able to have access to health insurance. And as anyone in this country can tell you, possessing health insurance means that (in theory) you can afford to do those things that will keep you healthy. Like go to the doctor...
It was interesting to have the Mark gospel story of these two dramatic healing events on the weekend following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision and preceding Independence Day. The music at church was meant to recall our Americanism, including "America, the Beautiful" right before the Gospel lesson. Admittedly, I found myself struggling against some the lyrics in this well-worn American classic.
"O beautiful for heroes proved
in liberating strife,
who more than self their country loved,
and mercy more than life!
America! America! God mend thine every flaw,
confirm thy soul in self-control
thy liberating law."
My throat started closing and my eyes got watery on that verse as I contemplated the state of our nation. The political dialogue in this country isn't a dialogue but a screaming match. Attempts to make health insurance accessible to those like me are met with vows by one political party to do everything to block it. Our Governor has announced that he will not expand Medicaid to make room for more enrollees... even though the federal government will pick up most of the tab. He'd rather people get sick and go without care than to admit that he has lost this argument in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Thank God for the Gospel lesson!! The story of the unnamed hemorrhaging woman and the cure of Jarius' daughter were the pill I needed to swallow on this Sunday. Because under the Jesuscare plan, everybody is made whole. Everybody is made well. Everybody gets included. A woman sick for twelve years who, no doubt, had gone to countless number of healers in her day could not find a cure. But under Jesuscare, she not a single-payer system... but a single-provider network... and--poof!--she's cured. As an unnamed person it would seem she had no great social standing. As a woman, we know of that period in history, she was a second-class member. And then Jesus goes on to Jarius' house, the named man; hence a man of prominence in the society. People are wailing because Jesus, having stopped to find the woman who touched his cloak, arrived after the girl was dead. But under Jesuscare, even dead little 12-year-olds (a girl who was as old as the unnamed woman's mysterious illness) get to have their life restored. I imagine Jarius had access to the best doctors and medical care of the day. But it was the freely-given Jesuscare that helped his daughter.
Sadly, if this scenario were to play out in today's America the Beautiful, the hemorrhaging woman might be a convert to the cause for more Jesuscare while the Jarius family would likely say, "I got mine; screw you!" Certainly, I would guess that most of the people in the pews hearing this lesson missed the idea that what Jesuscare represents is UNIVERSAL health care; a system where anyone who is willing to believe and puts their faith in this single-provider will be given a new lease on life. Or perhaps they did hear and understand that, but because this doesn't jive with what their political ideology tells them, they simply choose to ignore the radical nature of Christ.
The Episcopal Church is on record from the last convention as supporting Universal Health Care. I do, too. I think it's the only fair solution. And if people want to pay extra for private insurance, they can elect to do so. But there should be a level of care given to all people so we can have a healthier society. And people should not be forced to stay in crappy jobs, or get married, in order to have access to care.
I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court came down on the side of "Obamacare" in its ruling. I think that's a start. But I hope one day Jesuscare becomes the reality in this industrialized country. I hope that all those who say they love "country more than self" can also ascribe to the true meaning of loving "mercy more than life." Then, America will be more beautiful.