Sunday, January 31, 2016

Clinging to comfort



Daily reading: Mark 6:1-13
Sunday January 31, 2016

Focus passage: Jesus left that place and came to his hometown.  His disciples followed him.  On the Sabbath, he began to teach in the synagogue.  Many who heard him were surprised.  “Where did this man get all of this?  What’s this wisdom he’s been given?  What about the powerful acts accomplished through him?” Mark 6:1-2

This past summer, my husband Dan and I traveled to the United Kingdom for part of my sabbatical.  After hiking 88 miles in northern Scotland we drove to the south of England to Canterbury.  It is where I studied during my junior year of college and I hadn’t been back since I left about 20 years prior.

I surprised myself while there because I found myself either saying out loud or thinking, this isn’t the same Canterbury that I left 20 years ago.  I had fully expected that the pubs would still be there, that I would somehow go back in time to a place that existed in the early 90s. 
I realize how ridiculous that sounds.  Why on earth did I think that Canterbury would be frozen in time?  Perhaps because there are buildings that were built hundreds and I mean 7 or 8 hundred years ago still standing and so I assumed the owners would never want to or need to change?  But the interior had changed.  

We find comfort in things staying the same.  And we may even want others to remain the same, or for society to, or organizations to, because of the comfort it brings to us. But what happens when what we cling to is actually causing us harm?

Prayer: God open me up to experience you in a new way today.  Amen.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Rise up



Daily reading: Mark 5:21-43
Saturday January 30, 2016

Focus passage: Suddenly the young woman got up and began to walk around.  She was twelve years old.  They were shocked!  Mark 5:42

When Jesus arrives as Jairus’ house he encounters a crowd that is mourning.

How many situations in our lives have we already deemed to be dead? How many relationships do we give up on, realizing that there is no hope for renewal? How many institutions do we believe are dying?

Jesus took the little girl’s hand and spoke resurrection to her. 
He said “rise.” It is the same word that Jesus used when he heals Peter’s mother in law.  It is the same word Jesus uses when he heals a paralyzed man. It is the same word Jesus uses when he restores a withered man’s hand. It is the same word the angels use at the tomb
when they announce that Jesus has risen from the grave.
It is the same word Jesus speaks to us.
Rise.

The invitation is given, rise even in the face of death,
believe in life. Respond to the possibility of something new rising up
out of the ashes rather than responding to death. 

Prayer: God help me to believe when it is near impossible to believe.  For the situations in my life where I can’t see a way around or forward, give me vision.  Amen.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Keep on believing



Daily reading: Mark 5:21-43
Friday January 29, 2016
Focus passage: But Jesus overheard their report and said to the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid; just keep trusting.” Mark 5:36

Upon hearing the word that his daughter is dead, Jesus says, Jairus keep on believing.    Jairus don’t just believe when it is easy to believe.  Believe when it is nearly impossible to believe.  Believe that death doesn’t have the final word.

Prayer: God help me to believe when it is near impossible to believe.  For the situations in my life where I can’t see a way around or forward, give me vision.  Amen.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

God's timing



Daily reading: Mark 5:21-43
Thursday January 28, 2016

Focus passage: At that very moment, Jesus recognized that power had gone out from him.  He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” Mark 5:30

On the way to Jairus’ home Jesus stops and we might miss what is happening if we are focusing on the time that is so quickly passing
along with the life of the little girl.  Jesus stops to remind us that God through Jesus has come to save us all everyone; even the unnamed woman who has been bleeding for 12 years deserves Jesus’ attention just as much as the little girl does.  Jesus stops and our reaction to the stopping says much about how we think God works in our world. 

Prayer: God help me to believe when it is near impossible to believe.  For the situations in my life where I can’t see a way around or forward, give me vision.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Doubting



Daily reading: Mark 5:21-43
Wednesday January 27, 2016

Daily focus: They laughed at him, but he threw them all out.  Then, taking the child’s parents and his disciples with him, he went to the room where the child was.  Taking her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Young woman, get up.” Mark 5:40-41

I don’t think the crowds thought that Jesus was able to do anything for the dying girl. They probably dismissed Jairus’ request as one of a dad who had no other options before him. 

Many probably assumed that Jesus followed Jairus to his home because of who Jairus was and not because of whom Jesus was. 
They probably didn’t believe that Jesus was actually going there to do something other than to mourn with the family when the girl died. 

The crowd reminds us of those times when we say out loud or to ourselves “that’s not going to work.”  Jesus was coming to bring life to a literally dead situation and the crowd laughed.  How often do we dismiss the vision of others and the ability of God to breathe resurrection?

Prayer: God help me to believe when it is near impossible to believe.  For the situations in my life where I can’t see a way around or forward, give me vision.  Amen.

Waiting

Daily reading: Isaiah 40:1-11 Monday December 10, 2018 Focus passage:  Go up on a high mountain, messenger Zion!  Raise your voice a...