Archive | September, 2016

Gathering Followers

19 Sep

Good Morning,

In this world of the mega church I would just like to point out that Jesus had 12 followers.  The gospels say that Jesus had crowds that followed him, and one time he sent 70 folks out on mission, but in the end there where 12.

Mark records the call of these men (yes, Mark is only concerned with the call of the fishermen, although we know there where a number of women who followed Jesus.)

14-15 After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Message of God: “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.”

16-18 Passing along the beach of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew net-fishing. Fishing was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions. They dropped their nets and followed.

19-20 A dozen yards or so down the beach, he saw the brothers James and John, Zebedee’s sons. They were in the boat, mending their fishnets. Right off, he made the same offer. Immediately, they left their father Zebedee, the boat, and the hired hands, and followed.

I think that God’s kingdom is here, just like Jesus said.

I wonder what we will leave behind to follow the way of Christ.  I don’t think we have to leave our jobs.  But I think it would be a good thing to leave our worry, jealousy, anger, and constant wanting of more behind; left in the rubbish pile that it is.

 

Peace,

Mary

The basics

5 Sep

Good Morning,

One of the things I like about Mark’s gospel is the straightforwardness.  This is his record of the baptism of Jesus; 3 verses, that’s it.    John is the baptizer, Jesus is the one being baptized, but it is the Spirit of God that is driving force of the experience.  I think that is the truth of every moment of our lives.  God’s presence is in each moment of our lives.  The Divine experiences our moments with us; whether they are easy or difficult, whether they feel like a blessing or a curse.  God is there with us, offering us the peace and grace; hope and healing; even in the most difficult of time, especially in the most difficult of times.

The moment recorded in Mark is a wonderful one.

9-11 At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God’s Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.”

This is consider the beginning of Jesus public ministry.  God’s affirmation sounds like any loving parent.  I believe that God’s spirit had been felt in Jesus throughout his life, this begins the “work” he has to do in the communities around him.  It is thought is was about 30 years old.

To begin his work, Jesus took an extended time of prayer in the wildness, struggled with the power of evil, finding comfort with animals and angles.  All the time, God’s presence guiding him.

12-13 At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him.

On this Labor Day, consider the work you have to do in this world.  Do you take time of prayer before you begin your work each day.  Do you feel God’s presence and blessings in the midst of your work?  You are invited to continue the work of Jesus in our world.  It is so very needed.

Here are my sons, maybe not chosen ones, but loved all the same.

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Blessings and peace,

Mary

Long Summer Off

1 Sep

Hello Friends,

Well, I have taken a long summer off and I hope that I will get back to blogging on a regular basis.  Actually, I think about blogging quite often, but don’t get the focus and energy to get it done.  Does that ever happen to you?  Well, at least I know it happened to Paul (the apostle, not the Beatle).

Romans 7:17-20  The Message 

17-20 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

Of course, for Paul, the something more is God’s presence working within him.  The power to be transformed from the inside out.  This is always my desire.  BUT, I have already blogged about Romans.  AND, if I try to talk about just want is floating around in my head, it is hopeless.  SO, I have been wanting to blog on the gospel of Mark.  It is my favorite.

The reason that the gospel of Mark is my favorite is that it was the first written and it goes straight to the point.  There is a sense of urgency.  Folks who study Bible things think it was because everyone thought that Jesus was coming back next week and they need to get the stories about him out there.  Also, that he hadn’t come back fast enough and they need to get some of the stories written down.

My linear self will begin at the beginning.  Mark doesn’t begin with a birth story, but with Jesus first public appearance.  Actually, Mark begins with the man who introduces Jesus, John, who was Jesus’ cousin and a baptizer.

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Mark 1  The Message

1-3 The good news of Jesus Christ—the Message!—begins here, following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

Watch closely: I’m sending my preacher ahead of you;
He’ll make the road smooth for you.
Thunder in the desert!
Prepare for God’s arrival!
Make the road smooth and straight!

4-6 John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.

7-8 As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.”

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John was a powerful figure, and thought by many to be the Messiah.  In all the gospels it is made clear that John was a great prophet, but it was the one who was making the way ready for the Messiah.  It must an intense time in history to have two men who spoke with such authority from God and be an occupied people.  Everyone looking for a sign, for hope, and here are John and Jesus at the same time.  Amazing!

This lesson points to a truth about our faith.  John was performing a baptism of forgiveness, but Jesus is going to change us from the inside out.  How often do we settle for relief from our pain, without going to the source for complete healing?  The thing is, if we go just for relief of the pain, we will have to back again and again to get the same respite from the baggage/pain we continue to carry.  But if we let God’s holy presence consume it, free us from it, then we wont have to go back to it again.

I think that’s really cool.  And I think that what God intends; that the work of Jesus would supplant the old life we had with him.

Here’s to letting the spirit fill us and heal us and free us.007

Peace, Mary