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  • Writer's pictureRev. Kim Taylor

Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 8:36 bible study (March 25, 2024)

March 25, 2024:  Monday morning Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark 8:36

Dear Ones in Christ, this morning we are in the first day of Holy Week.  It began yesterday at the end of the worship service as we read chapters 14 and 15 from the Gospel of Mark.  This traditional reading helps us to move quickly from the amazement at the miracle cures, from the Teacher's parables, and from the lack of understanding that the disciples seem to display as Christ tries to move them into a very different circumstance for their lives, and even more importantly, for His.  Throughout His ministry, Jesus has modeled the behavior for ministry to which the Gospel calls all of the Baptized in Christ.  Please pray for the Church across this planet.  Pray for Francis, Pope of the Catholic Church all over the world, and pray that our Lutheran conversations and dialogues with them will continue to provide for shared ministries and greater understanding of each other's faith and practices in the Name of our Lord.  Pray for all of the victims of cancer, those we know, and those who are yet to discover that this disease will impact their lives.  (Jeff H. Kandice K, Pastor Dave, and Katie who is the great niece of our member. And pray for me as I now meet with a new urologist tomorrow.  My PSA results will indicate if my cancer has grown and expanded, which will take me on to the next level of oncology treatment.

a cup of coffee, notebook and pen, bible and the words Start your day with God's Word
Start your day with God's Word

In today’s brief, one verse passage, we are called by Christ, along with His Disciples, to understand that it is really important how we live our saved by Christ lives.  Salvation by the action of our Savior on the Cross becomes a deeply personal, and often an emotional and private part of our lives.  But today's reading from Mark offers us a caution about what having faith in the Savior is really all about.  Hiding, or hoarding, the Good News because it is such a special part of our lives is not the intent of Christ for us.  Like Jesus, we are to live humbly in faith, setting our feet on a pathway of activity for the sake of the Gospel, not for our own pietistic experience.  It means using our time, our very lives, to live by the example and action to which our faith is meant to be lived.  Hiding in the hills around the city, in the privacy of our surroundings, so that we might pray and quietly absorb this great gift of Love that is Jesus Christ, and His sacrifice for the defeat of the consequences of our sin, death, are ours to use to build our courage and strength for action!  Christ's words here in Mark 8:36 make it clear that we are to take action out in the world to make a difference. I can tell you that we have been challenged many times over our late in life adoptions of Josiah, Jesse, James, and Jared, (yes, they are all Biblical names, like our older boys, Jeremiah, and Joshua)  All of our conversations were about how God had blessed us, and back then, had given us an empty, very large home in which to live.  We prayed and set out with confidence in God's call to live the Gospel, licensed to provide foster care, and we kept for adoption the boys who were not going to go home, back to their birth families, and we prepared for the energy that we both knew that it was going to take to start another family in our late fifties and sixties.  Somehow God kept informing us that each of our boys was to be ours, and we knew it from the time that they walked into our lives.  This was to be part of setting aside our quiet retirement years to do the Lord's work.  The other part of course was to continue in pastoral ministry as long as God would make it possible.  I watched my father retire at 58 years and spend the rest of his 32 years of retirement living a quiet and comfortable life.  I know that is not what God has in store for me, and my life partner.  Our days are often busy beyond belief, and there is certainly not the energy that we had with the first group of four children, which also included another adoption because God had placed it on our hearts to do.  All five of our adoptions were to bring the love of Christ into the lives of children who were considered challenging for placement and adoptions.  God put these 5 on our hearts, and we became Dad and Mom for their lives, teaching them about Christ's Love, and what it means to serve in His Church even when you may not want to get up on a Sunday morning to set up the parish hall for a meal after church.  Here at American and through the shared love that we have with our boys and girls in the family, we have, in giving up our quiet later years, found abundant love and joy in serving the Gospel, and God has given us the real life that we know means Christ is with us, no matter what anyone has to say about it, unless they have come to experience it themselves.  Hard tiring work is grace-filled when we do it with Christ alongside of us every day, shaping our words and deeds, and living our lives for the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God.   If we had not come to American in Tucson in 1991, to the love of her members, and the Grace of God which has grown tremendously in our community of faith, I am not certain that we would have had the courage to follow Christ's heart for the life into which He has brought us.  Thank You God!

In Christ's love, Pastor Kim

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