Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 1:32-39 bible study (August 28, 2023)
Updated: Oct 4
Grace and Peace to you the children of the Holy One Most High, our God and Father in Heaven.
Good morning to you all. Please continue your prayers for the people of Maui, Hawaii. We learned this last week that our member Kandice K lost two students to the fire. Pray for their families and the staff of the school where these children were students this year. You can make a contribution to the disaster relief fund of the ELCA which can be designated for aid to Maui. The Church continues to be one of the most effective ways to get your gifts to those you desire to receive them.
Today we continue our journey through chapter one of the Gospel of Mark bible study. In verses 32-34 we see the issues for those who are critically in need of care, especially on the Sabbath for the Jews. Their Sabbath was from 6PM Friday evening until 6PM on Saturday evening. You may wonder how they knew the exact time for the close of the Sabbath limitations since the sun sets at a variety of times depending on the time of the year. For the Jews 6PM came when you could see three stars in the night sky. Obviously, the times for the end of the Sabbath varied greatly. But in our reading for today, that explains why Jesus found it necessary to open the doors of Peter's home at night. At this time when people could get out to help their family, friends, and neighbors get to health care, they came to Jesus in droves, keeping him busy throughout the night. The local word was out about the healing of the man in the synagogue earlier in the day, and now everyone was coming to receive this most amazing opportunity to have their illnesses or to have "demons" expunged from their lives. There is such a presence of evil in the world of people. All we have to do is to look at the photo of the young man whose life was filled with hatred for people of color in Jacksonville, FL. What is it that fills such a person's heart and mind with hatred for people with whom he has never had interaction. I am convinced that there is an evil that fills the void in some hearts when the goodness and grace of Jesus Christ is not present in any way. We have seen it way to many times over the recent years of our lives. Some of it is even done in the name of God! The present evil in the world will use any thing to validate itself and its manifestation in the lives of people. (By the way, this is SIN. We can never blame some outside force for the SINS that we commit.) What we must remember is that Jesus brought into the lives of people of the community an opportunity to experience the fulness of God's Grace and Love for His children. He fulfilled in His call God's desire to rebuild a righteous relationship with His people, and the people were starving for their faith to be fed with God's love through Jesus Christ. So they came, and came, and came to Him to receive what no one else could give them. Jesus healed at the synagogue, he healed in the privacy of Peter's home, and now in this passage he heals the masses of the village where He is. Jesus was always ready to meet the need of anyone who He encountered. He didn't help some and not others, because He knew in His omnipotence the ones who would come to faith and those who would quickly fall away from Him. He healed all who came. Jesus fully understood the universality of human need! The beginning of the great tragedy was here already. The people came to Jesus because of what He would do for them, not out of love for God's Only Begotten Son. For you and me there is a mutuality in our relationship with Christ. Living lives of thanksgiving comes from loving the Savior of the World. We look to Christ not only for what we can receive, but for His guidance and Grace for what we can do to further the Kingdom which He brings to all of humankind, and indeed, all of God's creation. The question remains, where did all of these who were healed with such miraculous Grace go? They got what they wanted for the immediate moment of life, with no thought to how to receive every day the provision of Christ for living their lives.
In chapter one of Mark, verses 35-39, we can see the fulness of Christ's humanity. In Him there is no endless energy, His faith needs replenishing too. Jesus must have some moment in His continual building of His relationship with His Father in Heaven as he sets out to take His ministry of Light and Truth and Love into the world. I think that we find it difficult to accept the fact that Jesus sometimes needed to get away for prayer to be re energized for the work which lay ahead of Him. But here, very early in Mark's Gospel we see the first of what will be a number of such opportunities of which Christ avails Himself. I know that there are times in my life when I need to have a break. I really look forward to those times, perhaps vacation opportunities, but by their end I am energized and ready to come back with renewed zeal for God's call on my life to serve the Gospel. In His humanity Jesus also got exhausted and needed some moments ( and that's all He usually got) for prayer and renewal of His resolve to carry on in His ministry. We see in this passage how brief those moments were. The disciples sought him to return him to Peter's home to continue healing the masses who were assembling there. The purpose of prayer is not just for asking, but for renewing our strength to do the work that yet lies before us. At 73 years I feel like I have so much more to do to fully answer God's call on my life to serve the Light and Truth, and Love of my Savior and your Savior. This is still the task that excites me in my life. I hope that we all remember the saying, "May the words of my mouth, and the actions of my life be pleasing in Your Sight O Lord!" This is an every day kind of prayer which takes us to new opportunities for Christ's work on earth. This is what we see Jesus doing in this passage as He tells the disciples that it is now time for them to head off to other villages along Galilee to
preach and heal,
to minister to body and soul,
to unite the will of earth and heaven.
This certainly sounds like a huge task, and it was. You and I participate in these kinds of ministry goals by coming to worship, hearing the Word, and living our lives in ways that fulfill God's desire for abundant living, (Peanut Butter for the food pantry. CROP, and more).
In Wednesday's study we will discover what it is that God hopes for our love in the world. God bless and keep you.
With Love in Christ, Pastor Kim