Lectionary blog on Mark 6:30-34; 53-56
Text for Sunday, July 22, 2012
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Wherever he went, they followed. When Jesus traveled by boat, they followed along the shore. When he stopped in a town, they brought their sick. In a crowd, all hands reached toward the One who had the power to heal.
Jesus was magnetic. As he taught and wandered around the countryside, the power of the presence of God drew the broken people who were hurting in mind, body and spirit. It was as if their hurts were the very things that pulled them toward Jesus — toward life and hope.
The love of God in Christ is magnetic, drawing us through our broken places where we stray from God, where we hurt, where we cry out in suffering. Elsewhere in the Gospel accounts, Jesus reminds his followers that he did not come for the well but for the sick (Matthew 9:12, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31).
The grace of God comes into the world, not because we are so good that we deserve a reward but because we desperately need it. As long as there is sickness, pain, violence and death, there is a need for salvation, hope and life. The power of the presence of God in Christ flows toward this need to bring healing.
However, Jesus is not walking the streets today. Rather, we are drawn by the Holy Spirit to experience the presence of Christ in various ways. In worship, we feel the cleansing water of baptism and taste the presence of grace in bread and wine.
We feel the companionship of the community, ready to heal with words of comfort, encouragement and hope. We are drawn toward the beauty of creation. We find words of grace in Scripture and more.
And in our time today, this power of the presence of God in Christ flows through us. The healed places in our own lives shine forth in witness to the grace we have received. In turn, others will see the healing grace through our lives and be drawn to the presence of Christ we radiate.
- What are the broken places in your life that are magnetically drawn toward the hope of healing in Christ’s presence?
- What manifestation of Christ’s presence draws you toward experiencing grace? Worship? Bible study? Visits with others? Nature?
- Have you ever found other people drawn toward you because they are looking for comfort and hope? How have you embodied the presence of Christ to them?
Jennifer Ollikainen, an ordained ELCA pastor, is the director of ministries at Lutheran Congregational Services, a Lutheran social ministry organization. She and her family live in Green Lane, Pa.