Sunday, February 5, 2012
Getting up to Serve
Jesus left the synagogue at Capernaum, and 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.
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, "Everyone is searching for you." He answered, "Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do." And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons. Mark 1:29-39
We went to lunch today with my brother and sister-in-law in order to celebrate my Mom's birthday. She will be 89 on Tuesday. She has spent most of her life as a pastor's wife, always someone who was serving others, making massive amounts of food and making sure people were fed and happy. She did that with all of us, her family, and with everyone else she considered friend or family. At almost 89 she is bubbly and outgoing, still willing to help, feed and serve as she is able. She id always ready to get up and serve, even if it takes her somewhat longer to get up now than it used to. She is always willing to pray for anyone at any time.
Simon's mother-in-law was sick and folks were afraid. She was someone who always took care of Jesus and his followers, always made room at the table, always cooking and welcoming friend and stranger alike. She was beloved and folks were afraid for her. When she was healed it was a natural thing for her to get up and serve her family and friends. It was where she felt most comfortable and useful, it brought her joy, bringing food and friendship to others. We have in this story a picture of the tenderness and intimacy of Jesus and his disciples, of people who relied on each other and cared for one another, in sickness and in health. We too, are the family of Jesus, beloved and cared for, embedded in a loving family and an even larger loving community.
Today I ask God to help us get up and serve where we can. In response to blessings and healing, may our hands and hearts be ready to care for others. There are those who cannot rise up, who once served others willingly with joy. May we rise up ready to live as the servants of God in this world, throwing off our fears and limits as we care for the least among us., May the stranger become friends by our actions and all of us become one family in the love of God.
Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.