Saturday 6 February 2021

Epiphany 5 2021 Mark 1:29-39,

Rise within us like the star 

And make us restless

Till we journey on

To seek our peace in you


Song “Lord make me a mountain”


Confession- a time of silence and reflection


God our creator who goes before us

You draw us forward in faith

Like a pillar of fire across desert waste

A rock of assurance

As we journey 

Speak to us with your words of comfort and wisdom.



Reading Mark 1v29-39



Mark's day in the life of Jesus moves from the synagogue to the home of Simon and Andrew. Mark tells us that the four recently called disciples are with Jesus. On a number of occasions Mark describes the touch of Jesus, or his grasp. Touch is so very important and in these Covid days we are missing it. 


Jesus is introduced to Simon's mother-in-law who is ill. She was in bed indicating the severity of the fever. It was anticipated that she was going to die. He took her hand and healed her. And she in turn began to wait on them and gave them something to eat. It was evening and the Sabbath was ended. Mark describes that both Jesus and the crowd are obeying Sabbath regulations.


The people brought all who were sick, in body or mind to Jesus. We often put more priority on physical sickness but both are dis-ease. The whole town gathered where he was and pressed in at the front door. Jesus healed their many and diverse range of diseases. 


Mark tells us that Jesus silenced the demons. They knew Jesus and by using his name they tried to claim authority over him as in the earlier healing of the man with the unclean spirit. But Jesus didn't even let them speak. 


As in the earlier story we would describe these people as having mental health problems and as such they were marginalized, unemployed and reduced to begging. So in healing them they are moved from being marginalized to having status, main stream members of society.


Very early in the morning, while it was still dark - as was his practice, to avoid the crowds, Jesus went off, away out of the house and out of Capernaum, and went away from the crowds, to a solitary place, deserted-a wilderness image, and he prayed. His prayer life sustained him as it needs to sustain us. Without it we just dry up spiritually. It is our spiritual breath.


But the Simon and the disciples found him.  Jesus tells them that they are goingto nearby villages and market towns like Capernaum because this is what he has come to do, to proclaim his message there too. So Jesus went to Jewish meeting places everywhere in Galilee, where he preached and healed in their synagogues.


There were two categories of people, the multitude and the disciples. The disciples were those who believed, while the multitude were curious. To be poor, hungry and suffering meant that you were out of favour with God in first century Palestine, because the belief was based on a divine reward system. When Jesus forgave and healed these outcasts, it had social economic and political consequences.


Jesus gives God's blessings on the the poor, the hungry, the sick, outcasts and the despised. Jesus turns it all upside-down. The elite in God's kingdom, the blessed ones  are those who are at the bottom of the heap of humanity. The human world order is based on keeping debts, vengeance, judgement but God's world order is based on releasing debts and forgiveness and healing, restitution into society and self esteem.


God is always closer to the poor. In Latin America in the 1960s peasants, people who lived in the favelas the shanty towns got together to read the gospels. They found it revolutionary. It spoke of them, the poor, of justice. They took heart, they claimed land. They fought the land owners who were exploiting them for profit. There will be a leveling and the humble will be exalted.


What are we doing for the poor and do we know who they are? This is Gods mission. Amen


Song “I heard the voice of Jesus say”




Servant Christ help us to follow you 

Into that place of quiet retreat, 

Knowing that you will be with us, 

Even in the desert wastes 

And the testing times. 

Help us to look to you 

And to trust your outstretched hand. Amen.




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