Let’s start today with the gospel text from the gospel of Mark –
Mark 1:29-39 – As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
In looking over a few resources on this scripture I came upon a suggested movie connection. Jesus in this passage conceals his identity. It apparently isn’t time for everyone to know who he is (yet the author apparently does want the audience to know!). This is very intriguing – the secret identity of Jesus… it helps him to be able to do the good that he came to do – the healing, teaching, and loving the people.
We see this secret identity in a specific kind of stories in our culture – have you guessed it? Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, and the particular movie this resource suggested to tie in with todays lesson – Peter Parker – The Amazing Spider-Man!
Sometimes as I go about my daily life, I meet new people who don’t know who I am or what I do. It’s a pleasure – since as “Deacon Erin” sometimes comes with presuppositions about me over which I have no control. For when these new folks who don’t know of my church connections are enlightened – the conversation can run a bit awkward. I wonder – how many of us leave our “christian identity” secret at times? Like Peter Parker – this can allow us to do good, just not outwardly in the name of God.
There is a time and place for everything – the poet of Ecclesiastes reminds us. Jesus in this passage shows that it again is our actions which speak and shape for others who we are. The crowds were not then (and perhaps not even later) ready to hear that the Messiah had come. Over time many, such as the disciples, understood through the healing and the teachings that this Messiah, Jesus, was not exactly what they had expected – but truly God with us.
I wonder tonight…
I wonder how do the stories of Jesus’s healing’s and miracles speak to you? I wonder how does the overall story of Jesus encourage you in your life? I wonder what gifts has God given you to make the world a little brighter? (The Amazing _______?)
I pray…. Oh Amazing God, thank you for the stories of faith that give us insight into who you are. May your Spirit continue to give us the strength and the encouragement to give to the world the gifts you have bestowed upon us. In your holy name we pray. Amen.