The Great Search

The Great Search
Mark 1:29-39

There is a lot going on in the passage of Mark 1:29-39. Jesus and others enter a home where Simon’s mother-in-law is in bed and sick with a fever. Jesus healed her. Word must have spread quickly that Jesus was there and what he had done, because people showed up bringing all the sick for healing and blessing.

And, for me, this is an important part of the story – Jesus awoke early in the morning while it was still very dark and went out to a deserted place to pray. Days before all these things had happened, Jesus was baptized and tempted. He called disciples, and engaged in a ministry of healing. He must have been totally exhausted. Jesus lived for others. Jesus realized the source of his strength and energy – in communion with God. Jesus shows us our source for an abundant life of love and compassion.

Another key for me is that people were searching for Jesus. The Searcher has become the sought. What have you searched for lately? Keys? Cell phone? Meaning? Healing? Hope? In our searching, we are met by the one searching for us – coming to us in our brokenness and pain. Coming with love and healing. Coming with hope. The great search is on!

The scripture says that Jesus was tempted in every way just as we are tempted. He was human – fully human after all. Yet, he kept true to his desire to help others and not to harm another. He lived to love, to heal, to forgive, to show compassion, and to be for all the expression of God’s love and grace.

In today’s culture of #metoo, allegations of sexual harassment, misconduct, lies and untruths, hate and loathing, Jesus is, yet again a great, example! Jesus shows us compassion, a healing touch, and appropriate touch. He shows us to keep close, to keep close to compassion and holy love.

Jesus was told about Simon’s mother-in-law. What did he do?

He went to her,
took her hand,
and raised her up.

Think of these actions for a moment. Repeat them to yourself:

He went to her,
took her hand,
and raised her up.

Begin to say, “Jesus comes to me. He takes me by the hand. He raises me up.”

As soon as the fever left Simon’s mother-in-law, she was up looking after them. A couple of things here. One, this woman is only known in Mark’s story as Simon’s mother-in-law. For too long, women have been known and defined by the men in their lives. Women have names. Secondly, she gets up and serves them. Is this another gender role stereotype? These two things, I think, deserved to be mentioned. More food for thought as we think of relations among men and women in our culture.
Yet, on another thought, we are all raised up to serve one another. Love one another. To honor and respect one another.

Rachael Denhollander was one of the 150 females to have been abused by US gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. Rachel has a profound faith in Jesus. She also was part of an evangelical church that covered up abuse within its ranks. She was tragically aware of inappropriate touch and harassment. In an interview, she was asked about her faith and scripture. Part of her answer:

One (scripture) was from John 6, where Jesus asks Peter, “Do you want to leave too?” Peter says, “Where else would I go, Lord? You have the words of life.” There was a point in my faith where I had to simply cling to the fact that although I didn’t understand or have the answers, I knew that God was good and that he was love. Whatever else I didn’t understand couldn’t be a contradiction to that. Goodness and darkness exist as opposites. If we pretend that the darkness isn’t dark, it dampens the beauty of the light.

In the pain and brokenness of our lives and world, where else are we to go but to the one full of grace and truth who has come and who comes to us as one who heals, serves, blesses, and loves?

Perhaps we can rise early in the morning while it is still very dark, to connect with Jesus, with God, with holy mystery and love. There our day begins. There Jesus comes to us, takes us by the hand, and raises us up. Each day begins with grace. Each day we start again to serve and to love. Each day, with Jesus, is a new day. Our world needs a new day!

In that interview, Rachael Denhollander talked about the church as it tries to defend Jesus doctrinally while refusing to help the broken and wounded – the ones Jesus cared so much about. She said:

Jesus Christ does not need your protection; he needs your obedience. Obedience means that you pursue justice and you stand up for the oppressed and you stand up for the victimized, and you tell the truth…

Oh yes! Jesus comes to us! Takes us by the hand! Raises us up! Now, it is ours to serve! To love! To search!

About the Author
Although Tom was born and raised an American, his life experience and faith journey have brought him to our congregation. His social justice background, deep empathy and sense of humor have combined to give him the depth to lead this flock in south Calgary. He can be totally at home leading us in prayer or in a rousing shout of “Yahoo!”

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