Monday, June 29, 2009

When unbelief meets Jesus? Mark 6:1-12

Year B, Season of Pentecost Proper 9, Ordinary Time 14 Sunday Between July 3 and July 9 Inclusive 5th Sunday After Pentecost 2009.

Read Mark 6:1-6 and watch out: God's on the loose.
This is a great story: Jesus came home and it wasn't a great homecoming. As a man it was natural for him to come home. Afterall Jesus had a hometown so why shouldn't he come back home. The tricky part of the story is that Jesus returned to his very same hometown preaching, teaching, and even healing; but the people in his hometown already knew Jesus (or at least thought they knew Jesus), and they didn't believe he had any business preaching and healing.

Reading Mark fresh this week is a great way to meet the real Jesus. He had family, neighbors, and friends who knew him; or at least who thought they knew him. Jesus, to them, had a personal history and an identity that made sense. To them when Jesus stepped forward in the synagogue and spoke with such wisdom Jesus was completely out of line and of his place.

Beyond his hometown Jesus was viewed very differently. Early on in his ministry many people believed that God was up to something, in, with, and through Jesus, because of what they had experienced first hand or heard second hand. They believed that Jesus was a daemon fighter, healer, wise teacher, and counselor. And in his home --ehh-- in his own town and in his own home synagogue the people saw Jesus as they had always known him. Jesus was Joe's boy, he was Mary's kid. That's who Jesus was and always would be; but to the people who had been healed by Jesus and to those who had witnessed others who had been made whole he was somebody special doing something that no one else could do.

Read Mark 6:7-12 and get ready to Go
Jesus didn't waste time before he sent his friends out to the nearby villages to take on the daemons. The ancient Creeds teach that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God the Father and that through him all things were made. He had power and would send them out in that same power to take on the Enemy. At some point most Orthodox Trinitarian Christians are told that Jesus is always both fully human and fully divine. It's an article of faith wrapped in questions and mystery. We wrestle to understand how Jesus fully human and fully God. But the people who met Jesus face to face recognized him first as fully human and only later realized that Jesus is God at work in the world.

The challenge in our increasingly secular culture is to invite people on the outside of the church, who often assume that they already know what the church and God are all about, to meet the very real incarnate Jesus. There's nothing like meeting Jesus first hand. You are loved and convicted at the same time. The key is to keep Jesus at the center of our faith and life so that other's might meet him. It's tempting to tell God how to act or when to come out and touch other people. We sinners (both in the church and beyond) would like God to be domesticated and predictable. But Jesus doesn't have to obey; instead he invites us to follow him.

Meeting the Jesus you already think you know is powerful. We sinners would like God to fit in a neat and tidy place in our world and our lives. But the real being who made heaven and earth won't sit nicely when we bark out the commands. The One who made heaven and earth is on the lose; Thanks be to God

1 comment:

LawAndGospel said...

Good thoughts- and I would add that we inside the church also assume we know we belongs, or how they do or do not fit our view of who God will act in and through