This coming Sunday we will begin a new sermon series titled “On the Mend” and we will follow the lectionary readings in Mark but beginning two Sundays ago. Each week we will focus on the healing power of God for our lives. This week: Healing Intentions. The following eight weeks we will look at Healing Inhibitions, Healing Fear, Healing Pride, Healing Divisions, Healing Trust, Healing Hold-Outs, Healing Power, and Healing Vision.
This week Gospel Lesson will be:
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 – The lectionary has given us only part of the story focused on cleanliness going into the body versus coming out of the body. It skips the part where Jesus chastises the Pharisees for being hypocrites. I will probably use all 23 verses. The question that we might want to ask ourselves is, “Which does more harm to God’s Church and/or God’s children: what I eat and drink or how I verbally abuse other people?” With the focus on “Healing Intentions” the question we may also want to ask “What are my intentions for my life, for others’ lives, and for God’s Reign and Realm?” Is it our intention to make others tow the line, follow the rules, or do certain acceptable things OR is it our intention to bring God’s love to others?
The Lectionary Reading for this week are:
Proverbs 1:20-33 – As a friend said to me this morning about this reading, “God show up as a woman”. A woman named “Wisdom”. In this reading Wisdom warns us that unless we seek her while we are able she will not answer our cries when times get difficult.
Psalm 15 – What does it take to live in the house of God? That person is the one who lives without blame, does what is right, speaks truth and not lies, does no evil, and honors others who fear the Lord. If we looked at our own lives, would we be included? Probably not, but thanks be to God who sets us right through Jesus Christ.
OR Isaiah 50:4-9 – Verses 4-11 constitute the Third Servant Song of Isaiah. It is difficult to know whom Isaiah was speaking about in the Servant Songs. Was it an individual, maybe even Isaiah himself? Was it the people of Israel? This song show us the agony of the servant as he suffers at the hands of oppressors. It also show us his utter trust in the Lord?
Psalm 116:1-9 – The Psalmist gives praise to God who is Gracious, Righteous, and Merciful and who has saved the Psalmist from death.
OR Wisdom of Solomon 7:26-8:1 – This reading is from the Apocrypha, books accepted by Catholic and many Orthodox Christians, but relegated as something good to read but not the Word of God by Protestant Christians and the Jewish faith. What is Wisdom? She is a “spotless mirror of the working of God and an image of his goodness.” Check out the full reading here: oremus Bible Browser.
James 3:1-12 – James makes an analogy between a bridle for a horse and a ship rudder to our tongues (meaning the things we say). As the horse goes where the bridle guides it and the ship sails the direction that the rudder steers it, so the our tongues guide our lives. If we don’t have control of our tongues then we don’t have control of our lives. He then compares the tongue to fire, other animals, poison, a spring of water, and a fig tree. He is basically saying that we should learn to say those things that show God’s love to others. How are we managing our tongues and speech?
Mark 8:27-38 – Jesus asks the disciples what the people are saying about him, who it is. They give a variety of responses: John the Baptist, Elijah, another prophet. Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah. Why do you think Jesus then orders the disciples not to tell anyone? Jesus then goes on to tell them what that really means: suffering, rejection, and death (see the Isaiah reading above). Oh, yeah, and resurrection on the third day. Peter objects to this idea of what a Messiah is. His, and the Jewish culture of his day, thought the Messiah would be a military leader who would defeat the Romans and reestablish the Kingdom of Israel. Jesus rebukes Peter by calling him “Satan”. Do we, like Peter, harbor the wrong idea of who Jesus is and what Jesus will do? What does it mean for us when Jesus tells the crowd that anyone who wants to follow him must take up their cross (gallows, firing squad, electric chair – the cross is a device for execution)? How must we die for Jesus?
Peace in Christ,