Readings: Mark 4:35-6:13
Jesus comes with all the power of the Son of God—one of the chief points of Mark’s gospel—and in his coming, this Son of God shows who God is for the people and for the world.
Where demons corrupt, where storms threaten, where disease tears us apart from one another…Jesus comes to restore, reunite, to establish God’s reign and shalom (peace, wholeness).
So that is where we will be for the month of July. We will hear and allow the stories of Jesus healing, restorative power to drive our worship. Jesus’ mighty acts of healing will be the focus of our proclamation of the good news.
Welcome to the stories of Jesus’ healing power.
When I ask, “Who is Jesus for you?” I often get very intimate pictures. Jesus is: friend, someone I can always talk to, the one who’s always there for me, who I can always count on…
In our chapter of Mark, we see the same kind of intimate pictures of Jesus.
He is with his disciples asleep on the boat—undoubtedly very familiar to all of them. They have spent time with him, listened to his parables and teachings.
They know him well.
There is also his hometown. They know him as “the carpenter,” “Mary’s boy.” They know his family well, “his brothers are James, Joses, Judas, and Simon, and his sisters are here with us.”
Jesus is our friend, our neighbor, our family, our teacher. He is one of us, close, knowable, familiar, even ordinary.
This is the great and wonderful mystery of the incarnation. God has become so close to us, so much one of us and a part of us that God is familiar, ordinary, mundane. God is so close and so much a part of our world that we even forget the awesome power and mission Jesus has.
Sometimes Jesus can seem so close, God can be so near, even to our suffering that it feels like Jesus asleep in the boat—unaware or perhaps uncaring that the waves are crashing over our heads and we are about to perish!
Sometimes, and wonderfully so, we get so close to Jesus and he becomes so familiar that we forget the power and mission that he has. We fear the chaotic, death-dealing forces around us like the disciples in the boat, forgetting that our closest friend is the one who is turning the world upside down. He is restoring you and I, restoring the whole world, to that picture of shalom (of peace, wholeness, union with God).
We use the words “atonement” or “reconcile” because we find them in the Bible. What those words mean is that Jesus is restoring our relationships, our intimacy, with God and with one another.
Our closest friend is the one who is turning the world on its head—making you, and I, and creation one again with God.
The body and blood of Christ does make atonement for us—that is, it brings us close to one another and to God.
We dine together around the same table;
We hold the Holy Incarnate Word in our hands, taste his blood on our lips, knowing as we do so that we are forgiven and restored.
We taste his calm in the midst of our stormy life as we come again into Christ’s presence.
The promise in the gospel today, Jesus’ good news to you, is that the Son of God has come near. He is here today, for you.
Whatever chaos whatever ailment, whatever it is that makes you ask, “don’t you care that I am perishing?” He is here with you. Sometimes healing comes in quieting of the storms of our lives or our bodies miraculously mended. But sometimes, even more than physical healing, it is from being close to God, and to one another, even in the midst of the storm.
Jesus, your closest friend, is also the one who is at work saving the world.