Does the Bible Hurt?

“What’s wrong with my heart? My heart is hurting. What’s wrong” Among Quechua-speaking communities in Bolivia, this has been the consistant response of men and women as they listen together to chapter 5 of Mark’s Gospel recorded in their mother tongue. They cry out as they hear Jesus ask, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ (Mark 5:30). They weep at his tender welcome of the outcast woman: ‘Daugher your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease’ (Mark 5:34). In this Bible story above all others, these despised people rediscover themselves as they meet Jesus. Since the Spanish Conquest in the sixteenth century, their oppressors have dismissed the Quechua as worthless, primitive and unclean. Now they here Jesus’ welcome, see him pause and stand still, his attention focused fully on a woman who in significant ways shares their experience of exclusion. The living word of Scripture touches – even ‘hurts’ – their hearts and opens the way for them to have courage also to reach out to Jesus and trust his welcome.

From The Seed and the Soil: Engaging with the Word of God by Pauline Hoggarth

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