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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, February 19, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Mark 1:29–34

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And 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. (NRSV)

The story of the healing of Simon’s mother comes very early in Mark’s telling of Jesus’ story. Ten verses before, Jesus had called Simon and his brother Andrew to be disciples. In between that event and this, these new disciples have traveled to Capernaum, gone to the synagogue where Jesus has taught, and witnessed Jesus exorcising a demon from a man.

Then they take him to their house. They likely want him to meet their mother (he has already met their father, with whom they were fishing when Jesus called them), and they likely wanted to tell her about their new vocation—following Jesus and learning how to fish for people. When the party arrives at the house and finds their mother ill, Jesus jumps right into action, healing her.

I’m guessing this series of events made a pretty big impression on those new followers of Jesus. If they were wondering where all of this was going, these early experiences set out a sort of map of the future—traveling around, listening to Jesus’ teaching, witnessing him healing the bodies and souls of the people, and visiting the homes of friends, family, and followers.

Jesus’ call, Mark seems to be telling us, is a call to action, a call to move through our community, a call to listen to the voice of God and to spread the love of God, and a call to be in relationship with those around us. We are not called to spend all of our time in quiet contemplation (though see verse 35, where Jesus does make time for quiet prayer), but rather we are called to be full participants in God’s world.

Dear God, help me to follow Jesus’ lead: being in the world, spreading God’s love in the world, and serving the world. Amen.

Written by Juli Crabtree, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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