Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Trinity Sunday, Year B May 27, 2018 Trinity Sunday, Year B John 3:1-17; Romans 8:12-17; Canticle 13
Pentecost, Year B May 20, 2018 Day of Pentecost, Year B Acts 2:1-21, Ezekiel 37:1-14, Romans 8:22-27, Psalm 104:25-35, 37, John 15:26-27;16:4b-15
Easter 7, Year B May 13, 2018 The Seventh Sunday in Easter, Year B John 17:6-19
Easter 4, Year B April 22, 2018 The Fourth Sunday in Easter, Year B Psalm 23, Acts 4:5-12, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18
Easter 5, Year B April 22, 2018 The Fifth Sunday in Easter, Year B John 15:1-8
Easter 2, Commemoration of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, 2018 April 8, 2018 Easter 2, Commemoration of the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Luke 6:27-36, Ephesians 6:10-20
Easter Sunday April 1, 2018 Easter, Year B John 20:1-18
Sunrise service, 2018 – “The Road to Emmaus” April 1, 2018 Easter Luke 24:13-35
Good Friday March 30, 2018 Good Friday, Year B John 18:1-19:42
Maundy Thursday, 2018 March 29, 2018 Maundy Thursday, March 29, 2018 John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Palm Sunday, Year B March 25, 2018 Palm Sunday, Year B Mark 15:1-39, [40-47]
Lent 5, Year B March 18, 2018 The Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B Psalm 51:1-13, John 12:20-33
Lent 4, Year B March 11, 2018 The Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B John 3:16
Lent 3, Year B March 4, 2018 Third Sunday in Lent, Year B Exodus 20:1-17; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; John 2:13-22; Psalm 19
Lent 2, Year B February 25, 2018 Second Sunday in Lent, Year B Genesis17:1-7, 15-16; Psalm 22:22-30, Romans 4:13-25; Mark 8:31-38


Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Sermon Date:February 4, 2018

Scripture: Isaiah 40:21-31; Mark 1:29-39

Liturgy Calendar: The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B

"Jesus the Healer”- Daniel Bonnell

PDF Version

I have three action verbs for you from today’s lectionary readings.

To trust, to pray, and to go.

Consider these verbs in the context of the nature of God.  Throughout scripture, God is strong, powerful and mighty, the source of cosmic energy that flows through the universe and suffuses this earth with life.

And this immeasurably powerful God cares most for the weak, the powerless and the dispossessed.  God restores health, strength and salvation to those who are sick, exhausted, and lost.

The magnetic energy of God, flowing in and through Jesus, captivated Simon, Andrew, James and John when Jesus called them to drop their nets and to follow him. 

With that same God-given energy, Jesus cast out the demon who possessed the disruptive man in the synagogue.

So no wonder the disciples immediately tell Jesus that Simon’s mother-in-law is sick when they bring Jesus to their house and find things left undone and unready for guests—and Jesus goes to the woman and takes her hand.

With his powerful energy, he raises her up in a little resurrection from the fever that has kept her from serving. 

Telling Jesus that the mother-in-law is sick is an act of trust on the part of the disciples, because they trust Jesus to take care of her.

And then we see this same trust on an even wider level when people from the whole city come to Jesus bringing even more sick and demon possessed people to him, trusting that Jesus will help them.

We modern day disciples still trust in God in this way when we bring someone to God in prayer, both in our individual prayers and in our corporate prayers.  The prayer list on the back of our bulletin is a sign of our trust in God as we intercede for them as a community, trusting that God will bring healing and strength into their lives.   

Trust in God is foundational to prayer—trusting that God is who scripture tells us God is, the powerful and mighty God who cares deeply for those in need of healing, and trusting that God will hear our prayers. 

When we trust in God, then we “take it to the Lord in prayer,” as that old gospel hymn puts it.   

The second action word, then, is “to pray.” 

Today’s passage from Mark reports that after that night of healing and casting out of demons, “in the morning, while it was still very dark, Jesus got up and went out to a deserted place and there he prayed.”

Jesus was intentional about putting himself in the presence of God.  Mark doesn’t explain how Jesus prayed, or what he prayed about.  But an obvious guess on our parts would be that after this burst of energy and activity—calling the disciples, casting out the demon in the synagogue, all the healing and more casting out of demons that Jesus had just done, he must have been tired and depleted.

Jesus takes time to go and be in the presence of God, the source of all that lifegiving, cosmic and healing energy so that he can recharge.  The Son of God himself knows that this time with God is necessary if he is to carry out the demands of his ministry of bringing the kingdom of God near on this earth. 

Yesterday, I held a flashlight for an electrician at work in a dark basement in a house that had lost almost all its power. I watched as he carefully replaced a fuse that had blown out from too much current flowing through it.    

When he was finished, all the power was restored to the house.  And I thought to myself, “this is like God at work.”  We overuse ourselves, get depleted, and lose power.  We call for help.

When we call on God for help in prayer, we trust that God will come to our assistance.

We trust that God will get busy and heal the brokenness that is stopping the steady flow of God given energy that is available to us if we would only remember to take the time to recharge and stay connected to God through prayer. 

So trust and pray.

The last verb is “to go.”

The last scene in today’s gospel is humorous in a way.  The disciples wake up and Jesus is missing.  So they hunt for him, and when they find him they’re all excited. 

“Jesus, come on, we’ve got to get back to Capernaum.  We need our coffee and some breakfast, and then you can get busy again with all that the crowds need from you today.  They’re pretty excited about what you did for them yesterday.”

But Jesus says to them.  “Let us go to the neighboring towns…

Sorry guys, no coffee in Capernaum for you this morning.  It’s time for us to go—because my job is to proclaim the Good News and to bring the kingdom of God to those far beyond your hometown.”

Jesus trusts the disciples to follow him, even though this following is going to mean leaving their familiar lives behind.  And the disciples do follow him.   After all, they are going to neighboring towns which can’t be but so challenging.   Yes, probably all of us could leave Port Royal and head to Bowling Green or King George with Jesus.  The disciples didn’t know where they’d go after that, but I guess they figured they could manage to follow at least this far.

So trusting Jesus, off they went.  No mention of a return home even for a quick goodbye.  They just went. 

Even today, God calls us to go and follow Jesus.  And I think it’s safe to say that God does not ever lay out the whole map and explain the journey in detail.  We just have to trust that God has our healing, health and salvation in mind and follow.

Martin Luther King puts it this way. 

“Take the first step in faith.  You don’t have to see the whole staircase.  Just take the first step.”

Today, during our time of prayer, we’re praying the Litany of Healing. 

These prayers are prayers of trust in God whose will for us is health and salvation.

And when we lay our hands on one another and pray for one another, we are trusting that God’s healing cosmic energy will flow through us and bring God’s health and salvation into our midst even though we cannot see  how or when that healing will take place.

So remember—

God’s healing energy is cosmic and universal, and at the same time particular and unique to each one of us.

To trust is to believe that God will shape us into God’s kingdom people of hope and healing.

And to pray will allow God to renew our strength, so that we can mount up on wings like eagles, so that we can run and not be weary, so that we can walk and not be faint, as we follow Jesus wherever he would have us to go


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