Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reflection on Mark 1:29-39

My god is a great and wonderful god. My god has always been there for me. When I had no friends after moving in second grade, my god was there to keep me company and to show me a kid across the kickball field who also needed a friend. When I was sick for three weeks straight in fourth grade with a bad case of the stomach flu, my god was there to heal me. When I thought that I just could not make it through the pressure and the tests of High School, my god was there to cheer me on. My god has always been there, right beside me. My god follows me wherever I go, supporting me when I need and healing when I ask. My god is a great god and wonderful god.

My god also approves of chocolate. I bet you did not know that. My god says eat all you want. “Since I said you can eat it, it is calorie free,” my god says. My god is a great god.

My god also hates certain people. That little red sports car that crosses over the center line into my lane as he goes wildly around the blind curves on highway 220; yeah, not top on my god’s “good child” list. There is a reason he rides in a blazing red sports car; it is to remind him of his eternal destination. I pray that there is a state patrolman just down the road. I am certain that my god will listen. My god is a great god.

As you have probably already figured out, my god may be a great god, but my god is not Jesus. Oh, there are definitely similarities to Jesus, do not get me wrong. My god would have healed my mother-in-law also. And, healed from her illness, my mother-in-law would have also started waiting on my every need. “Hey mom, get me a pizza from the fridge, and a beer.” Good idea Simon Peter.

Do not get me wrong, I am not totally selfish. I would have allowed my god to heal all of those people who had gathered outside my door also. I am not cruel hearted. Just as long as my god would have followed along after me when I decided that I wanted to go somewhere. “Come on god…good god…good god!”

The problem with Jesus is that Jesus refuses to be, “my god.” Jesus refuses to be anybody's god. When hunted down by his disciples and asked to come back into town as requested by all of those healed people, Jesus answers, “Let us go into the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also.” My god would not have done that. My god would have done what I expected and come back into town with me. My god is not rebellious.

My god is not the same as Jesus.

I am not sure why this happens, but so easily God touches our lives with some sort of healing and we immediately try to grab onto God and try to keep God for ourselves. Jesus does not play along. Jesus does not belong to us, we belong to Jesus. Notice who does the action in our lives. Jesus claims us at his in our baptism. Jesus feeds us at his Holy Supper. Jesus moves on to the next town and we follow. Jesus does not belong to us, we belong to Jesus.

I think that one of the most miraculous, healing examples of this is a teacher I know. When his son, the beloved jokester of the family, was killed in an automobile accident, this teacher was left helpless and stranded. As a parent, you pour your heart, your pride, and your sense of purpose into your children. And, when in a minute when they are gone from this life, they take with them your heart, pride, and purpose.

“What do I do? Where do I go from here, this teacher could be heard sobbing in the hall of the church.”

If Jesus were this teacher’s god, he would have raised his son right out of that coffin. But, Jesus did not belong to this teacher. Rather, this teacher belonged to Jesus.

“Where do I go from here?” was the question. That question was a miracle in itself. It was not a demand on God. Instead, it was an invitation for Jesus to lead. And lead Jesus did. Jesus went into the next town to do some healing and this teacher followed. And in following Jesus, this teacher once again found his heart, his pride, and his purpose in life as he took a position in a graduate school to teach others how to deal with the pain of tragic loss. He was led into the next town, into the next part of his life, so that Jesus could do some healing there also.

Jesus also does not belong to you. Jesus is not your god. But you most certainly are God’s child. You belong to Jesus. Remember that as you follow Jesus into the next town; as you follow Jesus into the next part of your life.

All Scripture quotes are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyrighted, 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and is used by permission. All rights reserved.

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