Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Fringe

Journaling by Peggy Thibodeau
Year 5 - Day 159: Today, I am grateful for a faith on the fringe. 

Today is a great day for a definition. 

fringe /frinj/
n. an ornamental border of threads left loose or formed into tassels or twists, used to edge clothing or materials. (
2. bangs created on the forehead without a bowl.

adj. not part of the mainstream;unconventional, peripheral or extreme. 

v. decorate clothing or material with a fringe

Today, we use phrases like "on the fringe" to describe those outside mainstream society. Fringe on clothing is really in vogue at the moment, but it never goes completely out of style (Ask any cowgirl.). Why? It's fun and the movement adds elegance to even common things like pillows and draperies. 

Fringe was used in the Old Testament as a visual reminder of the the law. It was hung from prayer shawls and mantles(cloaks). It was decorative, but held meaning and purpose beyond fashion. The God given law of Moses was to be reflected on daily in prayer. Knowing his rules helped them understand God's character.

As time marched on, long, fancy fringe turned more into a status symbol than a reminder of the law of Moses. Jesus is verbally dressing down the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:5 for their participation in the "pomp" and forgetting the "circumstance"as sinners in need of God's grace and mercy.

Fully fashionable and full of themselves, the Scribes and Pharisees had abandoned their true calling for celebrity status and the things being "one of them" cold bring. They perceived themselves above the rest and they alienated the ones they should have been lifting up, guiding and encouraging in faith. Jesus called them on the carpet with the authority. He did not stutter as he put them in their place. 

"They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long." -Mark 23:5

By the way, a phylactery is a small leather box that Jewish men wore during morning prayers. The box contained Hebrew text on vellum. It was another reminder to keep the law, like the fringe on the prayer shawl. 

Again, we are reminded that Jesus knows our hearts no matter how fancy or "holy" the world sees us to be

Jesus wore some fringe. I like that about him. Little is said about his fashion sense, but it did play a significant role in one particular miracle. (I assume Jesus... like Hugh Jackman... looked good in anything he wore.) The miracle involved a woman who was desperate with a bleeding illness and the tassel on his garment. 

Luke 8:42-48 records the details of the healing of woman who had been bleeding abnormally for 12 years. (It isn't a surprise that Luke the physician records this event with the most details.) Bleeding beyond a woman's regularly scheduled monthly visit, this poor girl had been to doctor after doctor. She was emotionally, financially and physically exhausted. Then, she heard about Jesus. 

"And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone." -Luke 8:43

What grabs my heart is that she had no desire to be noticed by the healer. She believed that if she could simply touch him, she will be healed. Her faith was bigger than her diagnosis. 

In the pressing crowds... and I imagine with her health issues... she must have felt nearly swallowed up. Still, she was not letting the chance to be healed pass her by. She is determined. She perseveres and presses on until she gets so close she can almost... almost touch him. She manages to touch the fringe of Jesus's garment that moved with him as he walked. 

Just a brush with Jesus' fringe and she was healed. That is faith. That is power. That's our Jesus, friends.

Healed, but not unnoticed as she desired. This man of wisdom and power knew energy had left him. He wanted to speak to the one who exhibited the faith that needed only a passing touch. 

She knew in an instant she was healed. He felt his power released on someone. She was busted!

Note that the disciples are clueless to what has happened. Peter jumps in as Peter always does with a comment, "Lord, everyone is touching you, they replied." Jesus knew that one touch was different. 

One touch came as a prayer and an act of faith. Her bleeding disorder was healed and that healing would be her story. She found herself face to face with the Master - and she fell down before him, confessing her actions and the healing as a result. 

 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” -Luke 8:47-48 

He sends her off well and with a blessing for peace. 

Another interesting note... this miracle occurs as Jesus is enroute to the home of a synagogue ruler, Jarius. His 12 year old daughter is dying and he is desperate. It will be the first recorded resurrection. Did Jarius have a faith on the fringe... or was the example he witnessed on the walk with Jesus the turning point in his story? We don't know. Isn't it fun to wonder? 

One thing is sure... each "snapshot" in the lives of these people is a glimpse of into the heart of the one who came to be with us, for us and was will to die instead of us. 

In fashion... and in faith... we can be fringe people. 

Today, I am grateful for a faith on the fringe. 
(Art credit to Peggy Thibodeau at

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