Pastor’s Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 4:21 Bible study (November 7, 2023)
Good Morning. It sounds like we have one more day of this above average temperature, and then this next week our weather will finally get back to those more enjoyable November averages. I hope that you have been praying for the situation in the Middle East, and the terrible loss of life for both the Palestinians and the people of Israel. Lets all pray for peace, not just there, but also for the Ukrainian people as well as the families of killed soldiers in Russia. In the midst of all of this brokenness we can never seem to reach a point where our world is at peace. If you have ever had any doubt about the human race's need for Jesus Christ, that doubt should now be put away. I am convinced that it is only through the people of faith, who live for what is right, and good, and just in God's eyes, that we will ever be able to truly be secure and safe in this world. It is really simple, Love God first above all else, and love your neighbor as yourself. Maybe not so easy to do all of the time, but it is the the reality for which all who love Jesus Christ should be reaching.
Today we are going to cover only one verse in chapter four of the Gospel of Mark. We have had this happen before, and have come to realize that quite often one verse contains so much that we need to know in our journey of faith. First it is important to realize that if we were to read ahead we would encounter more sayings of Jesus in the next four verses. Our temptation might be to try to connect them, but it appears that they all stand independent of one another. These brief sayings of Christ appear in Matthew too, but in Matthew they are really spread out, which makes it a little easier to see them as independent. These sayings of Christ may have often been repeated as He moved from area to area to bring His ministry of healing, teaching, and preaching, At least for Mark, they stuck so well that they got recorded in a connected line even though they were independent. Today's short saying is that people who have a lighted lamp do not hide it under a bushel. Obviously, it does no good hidden away. The purpose of that lighted lamp is to provide illumination, and Jesus also says that it should not be hidden under the bed. I hope that we all know that this light about which Jesus speaks is Wisdom and Truth. IT IS MEANT TO BE SEEN! It is meant to be shared. Granted, there are times when truth telling will get you into trouble, but that does not mean that we should not be revealing it. Martin Luther in the 1500s talks about this very situation. If a law is unjust, then it is the obligation of the Christian to reject it and protest, perhaps even breaking the law. But, that said, Luther indicated that if the result of that truth telling is getting incarcerated, then the Christian is called to bear the price patiently as an example of the surpassing presence of the Christ in their life. Luther himself stood against the lies of the Catholic church of his day, and often faced being tried for heresy, though his friends the German princes, were able to keep him away from that punishment by hiding him away in a castle for over a year. There is always danger involved in living in the Light and Truth of the Savior. The world of people is ready to join the attack against what is right and good and just in God's Kingdom.
Secondly, our Christianity is meant to be seen! In our very lives we are the bearers of the living Christ in today's world. This reality was not always easy, especially during the time of the early church, with Rome vying for devotion to the current ruler of Rome who saw himself as god. Their lives were in constant danger of death. In the Roman State were days on which every citizen was called to venerate the emperor and give offering. Thousands of Christians refused and lost their lives.
Today we have a Christian Nationalism movement in our own nation, which is attempting to acquire more power, and in the process to realize the wealth making potential that moving in such a direction may bring to their congregations. When their building display massive flags of the United States, I must wonder, who or what are they really worshiping at this time in Christian history. By the way, I drive by one of those "Christian" churches that has changed their name, leaving out the identity of their denomination relationship, and in the process have removed the Cross from their building's exterior. According to this statement of Jesus, His Light has taken a back seat when churches desire more power and wealth, and uses Christ only as a manipulation of what is the authentic life of faith!
Next Monday we will move on to the next two of these statements of Christ in chapter 4. I pray that you are well, open to the fullness of Christ's Truth, and ready to light your personal lamp while revealing your Christianity.
With Love in Christ, Pastor Kim