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Saturday, February 4, 2017
Today's Scripture Reading | Mark 8:11–26
The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.” And he left them, and getting into the boat again, he went across to the other side.
Now the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out—beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” They said to one another, “It is because we have no bread.” And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” And they said to him, “Seven.” Then he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Can you see anything?” And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Then he sent him away to his home, saying, “Do not even go into the village.” (NRSV)
As children, we practice our handwriting, copy times tables, and memorize stanzas of poems in order to learn and grow. As adults, we’ve heard it takes about twenty-one days to form new habits. However, these are simply guidelines. Sometimes it takes us much longer—and much more repetition—to absorb new information or embrace new habits.
The same is true for discipleship. In Mark’s Gospel, we learn that the disciples were concerned for their food supply. This is just after Jesus had performed the miracle of multiplying the loaves and fishes for the masses. Jesus’ frustration is apparent, like any teacher who has dedicated hours of lesson-planning and yet their students still don’t comprehend. They witnessed miracles with their own eyes, multiple times, but quickly forgot those instances and are still uncertain about their future.
Discipleship, in biblical terms and today, is not earned through just a few lessons, habits, or practices. It is a lifelong journey. In order to be ready for the journey, we must nourish ourselves with prayer, good works, and strong faith. When we fully embrace these practices on a daily basis, it becomes easier for us to see Christ at work in our lives.
Christ, our teacher and shepherd, guide me in discipleship as I learn to follow your acts of goodwill. Keep my faith nourished and my soul hungry for your daily bread. Amen.
Written by Jackie Lorens, Director, Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center
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