The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

Never miss a thing!


Jesus the master improviser 3/4 | Notice more

When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

’You see the people crowding against you,’ his disciples answered, ‘and yet you can ask, “Who touched me?”’

But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’

MARK 5:27–34

Jesus has hardly stepped off the boat before he’s accosted by the crowd.

Jairus the synagogue leader, pushing past them all, falls at Jesus’ feet. He pleads with Jesus to come to his home to save his dying daughter. Jesus obliges. The crowd continues to bustle around Jesus, chattering, bumping into him and each other.

A woman, suffering 12 years of bleeding, manages to touch Jesus’ cloak, and is instantly healed. Jesus notices. And not only does Jesus notice: despite his disciples’ protestations, he pauses proceedings to call forth the one who touched him.

Jesus didn’t need to do that.

The woman was healed, so why stop for a conversation and risk waiting any longer to get to Jairus’ house? And more concerningly, why stop for a conversation with an unclean woman, when a prestigious synagogue leader needs you at his home?

In calling the unclean woman out, Jesus proclaims her healing not only to her, but to the crowd surrounding them as well. He invites the crowd to give her the same quality of attention that they give to a synagogue leader. Just as he has done.

What we notice – or don’t – affects what we experience. By noticing more of the world, we expand our awareness of it, and so validate moments, people, or details that might otherwise be lost. That’s why neuroscientist Iain McGilchrist can say that ‘attention is a moral act’.

For example, I might notice (and mention) the name of the person who served me my morning coffee as I thank them. When the person in front of me is speaking, I might choose to notice what their words mean to them, rather than what they mean to me. I might notice the Spirit nudging me to reach out to the person who was so quiet in the meeting yesterday.

Improv theatre maestros TJ and Dave put it like this: ‘If we can quiet mouth and mind, and turn that energy into noticing our partner and the moment we are in, we have a far better chance of being helpful to the scene… So, we try to hush up, listen, and pay attention.’

As we learn to improvise in the way of Jesus, this is the kind of noticing we practice. Our attention is disciplined, not distracted. Only then are we able to seek (and find) the kingdom in the unlikely people and surprising places that the crowds are missing.

Tim Yearsley
Head of Innovation, LICC

Choose a moment in your day ahead and ask God to help you ‘notice more’. What could be different? Join the conversation below.


  1. Hello Tim,
    Good morning,
    Very interesting Bible passage, for a Monday morning work.
    Have a nice week.
    Thanks again.

    By Joachim Koya  -  15 Jul 2024
  2. Thanks Tim – excellent!

    By Murray and Jenny Wright  -  15 Jul 2024

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *