One of Jesus’ first acts in Mark’s gospel is to liberate a man from a demon, as we heard last week. Next, Jesus tames a fever; and by nightfall, everyone is after him. Is this a surprise? Not to anyone who’s ever suffered. If there’s a miracle cure for our pain, we’d all like to have a piece of it. Jesus, for his part, doesn’t seem to mind. He gets down to business and sends those diseases and demons packing.
The next day, Jesus moves on to the next town, and the same thing happens. The world is full of opportunities to encounter Job, and one village is as good as another. Job, unhappily, lives in all of them. The early success of Jesus’ ministry owes itself to the rampant misery in the world and our desperate desire for an answer or a cure. For those who’d given up the hope of happiness, the coming of Jesus was a new shot at life.
For believers today, the news is just as exciting. Jesus is ready to reach into our lives and liberate us from the demons that enslave us. Jesus is the only real healer, making even death itself a king without subjects. Though our misery runs deep and happiness becomes a memory, Jesus restores our peace. No wonder so many are still after him.
When do you go looking for Jesus?
Alleviate some misery in the “ash heap” nearest you. Kindness, sympathy, companionship, or a word of forgiveness can go a long way to make happiness live again.
The Scripture (Mark 1: 29-31 Jesus Heals Many People)
Directly on leaving the meeting place, they came to Simon and Andrew’s house, accompanied by James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed, burning up with fever. They told Jesus. He went to her, took her hand, and raised her up. No sooner had the fever left than she was up fixing dinner for them.
The Story – Everything Changes
As a young girl, she always tried to avoid getting drafted to work in her mother’s garden. She disliked the planting, the pruning, the watering. She disliked the weeding the most. And she would rush off to play with her friends.
When she became a young adult, she began to see the beauty of the garden. Not that she had any desire to work in it, but she could begin to appreciate what beauty it brought to all who passed by.
And then her mother got sick. It was then that she came to recognise within her, the strength, confidence, and character that her mother had so gently planted, watered, pruned, and weeded. Having been so well served, the young woman’s own desire to serve blossomed.
Thus, tending the garden was no longer work for hired-help. And so she gladly and enthusiastically planted, and pruned, and watered, and even weeded the garden outside her mother’s bedroom window, in hopes that it would strengthen her mother, and cheer her. But most of all, as a blessed act of sheer gratitude.
Pray faithfully. Prayer changes us, the pray-ers.
Find a quiet place. Prayer happens as we settle and listen.
Remember those who are in need before God. We will be part of the answer to our prayers.
Pray with thanksgiving. We give thanks for ourselves. We give thanks for our loved ones.
Pray with thanksgiving. We know that the Spirit is at work in our faith community.
Pray with hope. We know that in sickness and despair, God’s compassion is there.
Pray with hope. In the face of insupportable injustice, God will find us.
Pray when the last thing you want to do is to pray. God’s love is there for us. God’s love is always there for us.
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