Saturday, 4 February 2012

Ulterior Motive?

Mark 1:29-39
29As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
32That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. 35In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” 38He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” 39And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

I've always been slightly scathing of today's text - seeing the healing of Peter's mother in law as being a very convenient act of pragmatism - Jesus and the disciples are hungry, so healing is required for the one who will serve them.
Mulling it over with the Revgals this week, though, brought a much needed new perspective. That of looking at Jesus' healings as acts of restoration - not just conferring on folk better physical or spiritual health but, also, restoring to them their place in the community.
Peter's mother in law's role in life was as a nourisher of her family - and that was what Jesus gave back to her in his intervention.

As is Mark's way, we move swiftly from that healing, to crowds clamouring around Jesus, all seeking different things, united by the common longing for restoration, a place in community, the desire to blend in.
And, once Jesus deals with that little lot, off he goes, seeking some space for rest and renewal.
The disciples sought him out with those words that are often heard in church circles: "Everyone is looking for you."
And then, the disciples, having caught up with Jesus, are immediately led forward to new tasks and new horizons, to new areas of ministry.

A cunning ploy of Jesus - then AND now. Just when we think we've "got it", he leads us into new discoveries and new areas of service.

So much in this brief gospel passage. Can we keep up? Are we willing to try?
Do we have the energy required to keep moving on to see the gospel from lots of different angles and to continually seek out those we are called to serve? And, in our practice of restoration, rather than basking in our sense of accomplishment, can we see the new horizon to which God is calling us?
Of course there are ulterior motives in Jesus' healing.
May we know that restoration, renewal and moving on.

1 comment:

Nik said...

Much more eloquently put than me, Liz!!! :)