Her Story in Blood
By Meghan E. B. Lin• Luke 8:41–47
(ENSEMBLE dispersed about the stage, standing, facing audience. Alternatively, poised for action. Woman 7 has the rabbinical stole. There may be some simple arrangements of props along the US wall, but the rest of the space should be unadorned – the staging of the actors should create the depth, levels, and visual interest.)
Multidisciplinary artist Meghan E. B. Lin reflects on the story of the bleeding woman in Luke 8:41-47 and the theme of “Harvest” in her one act play “Her Story in Blood.”
Artist Curted by
41 And, behold, there came a man named Jai´rus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue; and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: 42 for he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.
43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.
Meghan E. B. Lin
One of the most interesting questions I find in the New Testament is “Who does Jesus harvest, and how?” Within the frame of that question, the story of the woman who bled for 12 years has always been particularly fascinating for me. Here is a woman who, because of Levitical law, has lived more or less in isolation, suffering physically, socially, and financially, for 12 years. She is so unimportant that she is never named, and her story is told as an interruption to the story of Jairus, a synagogue leader. She does not dare to interrupt Jesus herself, and tries to slip away quietly, but Jesus interrupts his own errand in order to pursue her, engage her, and bless her. Somewhere in there is the gospel for all of us, and especially for women.
In writing this play, I wanted to explore this woman’s many vulnerabilities, how her female biology both creates and complicates these vulnerabilities, and the realities of women today who suffer similar pains. I also wanted to explore the way that Jesus responds to her, what that might mean for her, and how his response is in contrast to common attitudes towards women. Because the bleeding woman’s anonymity makes her both un-knowable and every-knowable (universal), it is possible and desirable to explore her story from multiple angles. None of the women featured in the play is “the” bleeding woman, but modern women in whose suffering the bleeding woman might find deep resonance. Similarly, because we do not experience Jesus in a vacuum or through the influence of a single person, but rather from the multiplicity of the church, I have chosen to have the actresses take turns playing Jesus, so that they can be the hands and feet of Jesus to one another onstage as we, the Church, are to one another in real life.
Meghan E. B. Lin is a multidisciplinary artist and teaching artist residing in New York City. She studied theater and history in undergrad at Youngstown State University and received her Masters of Science in Teaching from Fordham University. She is a teaching artist for the Active Learning Leads to Literacy program with LEAP (leapnyc.com). Besides teaching and doing theatrical things, Meghan writes fiction and poetry and practices as a certified Dancing Mindfulness facilitator. She participated in Spark and Echo’s 2012 City of Water Day event on Governor’s Island as a spoken word poet. You can find her poetry at Digital Literary Magazine (Issue 1) and JohnShore.com. She is currently working on a novel and a web series, and making little kids excited about art.