Epiphany 5, Year B – Proclaiming the message

Title:Epiphany 5, Year B – Proclaiming the message

Lectionary readings

By the Rev. David Lose:

“First off… who knew Peter was married? Well, maybe you and I did, but I’m guessing that just about nobody in the congregation you’ll preach for this Sunday knew that Peter has a mother-in-law which, by implication, means he was married. J Why does this matter? I kind of think most of our folks – and, truth be told, most of us – tend to think of the disciples as, well, not like the rest of us. Like they were cut from different cloth, led very different lives, were destined to be Jesus’ disciples from the beginning, and generally are just plain different. Yes, we know they fell short and weren’t perfect, and yet I still have a hunch that we have a hard time relating to them. (They do go on, after all, to start the Church!) But Peter has a mother-in-law… who is sick… and he’s worried about her… and he asks Jesus for help. He is, in other words, kind of ordinary. Like us.

“Second, Jesus’ ministry is comprised of proclaiming the good news of God’s coming kingdom, healing the sick, and resisting the forces of evil by casting out demons. How might that rather focused mission statement – proclaim, heal, resist – inform our congregation’s sense of its mission?

“Third, Jesus also prays. He actually takes time to pray, to withdrawal and tend to his own spiritual life. Way, way too easy to forget; for our folks, for sure, but also for us. And I don’t mean to add to your “to do” list – “make time to pray!” – but rather that to remind us that breathing, resting, renewing, connecting are good things, however you may do that.

“Fourth and finally, I find it fascinating that Mark says that “they brought all who were sick” and that Jesus “cured many who were sick.” I don’t know if this contrast is intentional, but it strikes me that even Jesus didn’t seem to cure them all. Which may be instructive. We so often can focus on who we’ve missed, what we’re not doing, where we’ve fallen short, when it might help tremendously instead to focus on, and draw strength from, who we’ve reached, what we’ve accomplished, and where we have moved more fully into the calling we’ve received from God. This is important for you to hear, Dear Partner, as I know how easy it is to become discouraged in ministry, but it’s also so important for our congregations to hear, as the needs of our communities, especially now, can seem overwhelming, and yet to look and see who has been positively affected by our ministries can encourage us in our faith, life, and work”