Bits and pieces, that’s what I have today.
- I read these lines and they strike a chord deep in my heart, reverberating through my bones. “For God is happiest of all. Joy is God’s life.” Is this echoing gong agreement or challenge? Do I really believe that God is happy, that joy is His life? I look around and see so much pain and remember that Jesus was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, and I wonder. But is God not the maker of all I find satisfying and beautiful? Can I not imagine that in the pain He sees the grace, the mercy, the healing He has planned? That the Ancient of Days, who sees the beginning and the end at the same time knows that there is more to rejoice in than to mourn.
- Starting to read Mark, I notice that Jesus calls Simon (we know him as Peter) and his brother Andrew a few yards before he call James and his brother John. I wonder if this means that Simon Peter and Andrew knew James and John before they all followed Jesus? It was probably a small community and they were working in the same occupation on the same beach, so I think it’s likely. But here’s my real question. Do you think they liked each other? James and John were known as the Sons of Thunder (sounds like tag team wrestlers.) They don’t sound like naturally peace & love dudes. And then there’s Peter (love Peter!), the ADHD disciple. Seriously, look up the indicators of ADHD and then look at Peter, ding ding ding. So Peter is a leader and mouthy, impetuous, no filter, and quick to anger. Do you think he naturally got along with the Sons of Thunder? Hee hee. I don’t know why but the idea of them all suddenly thrown together on rollercoaster Jesus makes me giggle.
- In the first chapter a leper (sick and outcast) throws himself at Jesus and says, “If you want to, you can cleanse me.” Mark 1:40 My eyes tear up for the nakedness of this man’s need. It’s so raw and exposes my own heart, for see the implied doubt, the subtle lie confessed. “If you want to,” the fear that perhaps God does not want me healed but sidelined by pain. I remember reading last week of the two blind men who would not leave Jesus alone, but followed Him in undeterred desperation. When Jesus asked, “What do you want from me?” They said, “Master, we want our eyes opened. We want to see!” Matthew 20:32-33 The bare plea in that line, We want to see! In each case Jesus responded the same way. It’s some long Greek word that begins with an “s” (ok, splagchnizomai, told ya) and it translates moved with compassion. But when I read the definition it means to move from the bowels, which is where the ancients believed pity and love came from. That picture is so clear to me. When I am in deep pain my stomach feels like a bowling ball and I’m tied up in knots. When I am yearning to comfort, fix someone’s pain, deep inside it’s as if some anxiety is longing to be freed to release love. And this is how Jesus felt when confronted with the ravages of pain and disease and naked pleas for rescue. He is not disgusted or interrupted but moved so deep His body hurts with them…with me. And it doesn’t stop with His feelings. He moves on those feelings by healing and transforming forever, broken lives.
Last thought. Jesus compared walking with Him to being present at a feast Mark 1:18-19. I wonder, do I consider my life in Christ a feast or a fast? Kind of depends on my perspective, huh?
Instead of reading this morning I decided to take a walk; to worship with my senses.
I risked the rain
and instead found glorious sunshine,
light glinting off of snow-kissed peaks,
and dollops of meringue impossibly large floating in a sea of blue.
Wind dancing a jig with my pony tail,
whirling a herd of leaves across the street like skittish colts,
soaring remote control airplanes to dizzying heights
and carrying a surprise whiff of orange blossoms.
I gulp lungfuls of crisp air as I walk
ignoring whining muscles, slower than normal to warm up .
I gaze around me, all eyes and sometimes cell phone.
Sunlight warms my skin and freckles my face.
A squirrel glares at me suspiciously before scrambling to find his winter hoard.
I practice smiling
and like it.
I risked the rain and instead found