July – The purpose driven life
Mark 5:21-43 Two stories about healing.
In one story, the healing is sought privately, but Jesus makes it public. The woman with the haemorrhage does not want to draw attention to herself. She is the walking unclean. How dare she be in a crowd contaminating all those people like that?! Yet, critical to her complete healing – physical, religious and social – is the public recognition that it has occurred.
In the other, healing is openly sought, but Jesus acts privately. Jairus is a well known and highly respected man. His falling at the feet of Jesus would have created quite a scene in front of the large crowd that had gathered. But Jesus sends everyone away. After the healing Jesus ordered that no one should know about it.
Jesus was careful not to make himself a centre of fascination. He was purposeful, moved by compassion and always acted strategically.
In what ways has the gospel made your own life purposeful, moved by compassion and strategic in what you do?
Mark 6:1-13 Two examples of preaching.
One example is focused on Jesus on his home turf. People are struck by the message but then distracted by the common identity of the preacher. They see no need to make a response. How are we to believe in a person who we have known as one of us? His audience were remarkable… at not believing!
The other story is about preachers being sent into unfamiliar turf. Sent with an elevated sense of vulnerability. Those being sent are physically dependant on the reception they get from the strangers to whom they are going. The very presence of these vulnerable envoys invites a response from the strangers that is concomitant with the kingdom. It will not be sufficient simply to say one believes. It will be the practical response to the presence of these preachers that will prove far more eloquent.
In your sharing of the gospel, what difference have you noticed when you have gone forth in strength and when you have gone forth in vulnerability?
Mark 6:14-29 Two types of leadership.
The one is motivated by something greater than self-interest. There is a sense of accountability to something more than whatever happens to suit a person most at the time. It flows out of a deep tradition of accountability that forms a community that honours all members equally and holds each to the same standard.
The other is motivated by the desire to scratch the itch of the moment. Those with power act with impunity. They successfully quash any dissonant voice from within or without. They will do whatever is required to maintain their position of power.
Yet the first forever haunts the second. Both know the truth. One upholds it and the other is constantly fleeing from it.
Where can you identify these two types of leadership in your own life and the leadership of those around you?
22 July 2018
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 Two reasons to go with Jesus.
The first reason is about sharing, learning, integration and being formed as a follower. Jesus calls his disciples away to a secluded place where they might avoid being interrupted by the ever growing and increasingly excited crowds.
The second reason is about getting something. Getting a look. Getting a healing. Getting a meal. Some come to Jesus not for Jesus, but for something else they want that they believe Jesus can deliver to them.
There are all manner of reasons people seek Jesus out. The only reason people persevere with Jesus is for Jesus himself.
What drew you to Jesus. What moves you to persevere with him?
John 6:1-21 Two responses to need.
Before the days of convenience stores, Jesus and the disciples find themselves faced with a lot of hungry people in a remote location.
In a world of never ending need, it is easy to identify with Philip,‘What can we do?’ That is precisely where many of us stop. We cannot solve the whole problem so we figure we have nothing to offer.
Andrew’s response is more helpful. We have this… it’s not much, but hey?! We are not told the precise mechanics of this miracle. But just as fear and selfishness can be contagious, so also can generosity.
How well do you understand your own response to a world of need?
Rev. David Gore, Mustard Seed Ultimo Uniting Church and Uniting Chaplain at UTS.