"The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law." (Mark 1:22)
Have you ever thought about how many "controls" you have? For the TV, alone, I have 3 "remote" controls. Then there is the garage door opener, the other TV and several "timers" for lights to come on. Isn't it interesting how many we have when we stop and think about it. The ones I think of first are the ones that are "remote" and that I can use to - maybe(!) - control something. Recently, on Facebook, there was a post about "remote" controls, for the TV, from the 50's. Yup, the picture was of a child, at the TV, with his hand on the dial. So....... with a remote are we "in" control?
Jesus, in the Gospel reading this morning, is starting his ministry. He is teaching and people are "amazed" at the "authority" with which He speaks. (v.22) In just a few verses Jesus commands and an "evil spirit" obeys. (v. 25-27) The people are even more "amazed" about the "authority," "giving orders" and being "obeyed." (v. 28) Are we listening to the authority Jesus is still speaking with? Are we even listening? Or are we trying to remain in "control" of what is happening?
As Caregivers there is a lot that needs to get done each, and every, day. The usual "routine," the schedule of activities and the unexpected "interruptions" all need to be taken care of - which is probably why we feel the need to "be in control." Thankfully we can, when we remember(!), rely on Jesus' authority AND His being in "control."
"At that very moment he called them. They followed him, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired workers." (Mark 1:20 CEB)
How are you at coming "when called"? I could usually tell, by Dad's voice, how fast I needed to do something. I would answer, "when called," (especially if I hadn't heard him the first time and he was to my full name before I did hear him) but would also tell him "let me finish what I'm doing then I'll come." Now, as Caregivers (and parents!!), we can also tell when we need to answer "immediately!" As for my personal call into the ministry I can tell you, like I've told anyone who asks, I describe it as "God is on the answering machine." I knew God was calling me to more - I just wasn't ready to answer yet.
This reading, in the Gospel, is a continuation of Jesus calling his Disciples to come with him in ministry. He is saying "and I will send you out to fish for people." (v. 17 NIT) In the readings he is talking to Simon, Andrew, James and John all of whom were in the family fishing business. They were all probably busy too(!) with families to take care of as well as the jobs they were already doing. All four men went with Jesus "at that very moment." The only explanation some of them got was "I will send you out to fish for people."
We, as caregivers, are already following where God is leading - taking care of "our people." My question is -- what else is God calling us to? How is God asking us to do "more"? Is our answer, like I did with my Dad, "let me finish what I'm doing"? Can we, like the Disciples, follow where God is leading?
Walking with -- come, see!
"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip. (John 1:46)
I was blessed, way back in high school, to be the person who "took" Delia into the Sanctuary on Sundays. We sang in the choir, were the first ones in line - directly behind whoever was caring the cross leading the processional, so it was up to me (I thought!) to get Delia to "our place" in the choir pews. I learned, very quickly, the very first Sunday, my job was to keep Delia "behind" the leader" and to walk WITH her. I would stay a step ahead, her hand on my arm, so she knew we were to the stairs (or an obstruction of some sort) and try to keep her at the same pace as the rest of the choir coming in behind us. It was an interesting experience that helped me as I continued to work with the visually impaired all through college (the first time) and on several occasions since.
The Gospel reading this morning is about Jesus calling his Disciples to come into ministry. The excitement Philip feels needs to be shared so he tells Nathanael who questions about people coming from Nazareth (which is a whole different topic). Philip responds "come and see." (v. 46) Jesus is still speaking to each one of us, calling us into ministry WITH him. So are we questioning, like Nathanael, or guiding like Philip? Jesus is walking "one step" ahead of us, guiding us, leading us in the right direction. Are we listening? Are we walking "with"?
Are we so excited about it we can share it with friends and family? Can we let God lead, staying ahead of us, as we walk WITH Him and follow where He is leading?
"I have baptized you with water but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." (Mark 1:8)
Conversations starting with "do you remember" can be interesting, fun, educational or dangerous - depending on if, or what, you remember and answer. I have gone to one of my sisters to help with memories of growing up. She is five years older so remembers somethings more clearly than I do. At the same time I can also remember telling my mother-in-law what a pretty dress she was wearing. Her response was "don't you remember this dress?" To which I had to say "no." Thankfully I was only in a little trouble - she had worn it, the year before, for her son's (and my) wedding.
The Gospel reading, this morning, starts us into the Gospel of Mark - the Gospel for this lectionary season. The "new" year started the first Sunday in Advent (and last weekend on the calendar) but Mark doesn't start with the birth narrative like Matthew and Luke. Mark is thought to be the oldest of the Gospels and starts with Jesus baptism and starting of His ministry. This Sunday we are talking about Jesus baptism and "remembering" our own. The promises we made, or were made for us, to be following where God is leading including into "new" things. We can remember Jesus IS baptizing with the Holy Spirit - filling us, overflowing through us and strengthening us.
This is the start of a new year, a new month with many other changes (and challenges?) happening. Do we remember we do have the Holy Spirit giving us strength? Can we stop and remind ourselves? God IS with us. God KEEPS God's promises.
What do we bring? Light!
"The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not over come it." John 1:5
I wonder how many of you have ever been in a cave - maybe not spelunking which my son loves but actually down in a cave. I have been blessed to be at Mammoth Caves (National Park) several times. One of the times my sister; the one who loves to wear dresses, color coordinates and understands bling - was looking up at the strings of lights way up along the "roof" of the cave. Her comment, which I can still remember 50 years later, was "Wow! I would love to be one of the ones putting those up there!"
Today's Gospel reading is Matthew 2:7-12. We read about a group of men following a star -- one star. A star that shone brightly and seemed to be leading the way. This group of men "Saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." (Matthew 2:2) They are sharing this information and asking questions before continuing. They are "overjoyed" (v. 10) to see the star again, stopping at the house "where Mary and the child are." (v. 11) They bring the child gifts - which is where we get "3 Wise Men" from -- 3 gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. One star, outshining all the stars in the heavens, leading to the Light of the world and bringing gifts. The question is...... what gift are we bringing?
I know. We are caregivers. We are, pretty much, constantly giving - of ourselves and our resources. But do we share the Light? Do we tell others where our strength comes from? Can we "give" the Light of the world, Jesus Christ, the gift of sharing His light as our strength? Sometimes we are the small light, like a candle in a dark world, but sometimes we are the bright light - like the string of lights at the top of a cave. We need to share how the Light of the World is our Light TO share.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.