10 November 2018Mark 6:1-6a
He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. (v. 1)
Sing hey for the carpenter leaving his tools!
Sing hey for the pharisees leaving their rules!
Sing hey for the fishermen leaving their nets!
Sing hey for the people who leave their regrets!
During this past week we have considered the kingdom of God as a place of healing and wholeness. Those words from the song by John Bell and Graham Maule remind us that there are occasions where we can only move forward into that kingdom by letting go of and leaving behind something that may have become significant. The hymn continues to remind us that this is a costly kingdom that cannot be entered into without also entering into the fear and tears, suffering and death of Christ. The prize is to be won, though, as in leaving all behind we gain the treasure of the kingdom, all that binds us is loosed, the earth and life in all its fulness become ours.
The kingdom, for which we pray, is a kingdom in which healing and wholeness abound though the grace of God made known in Christ. Today’s gospel lesson reminds us of the cost of that kingdom, to God in Christ and to us and all who would take up the cross and follow. With the psalmist though, we can recognise that the Lord is our hiding place when times are hard, as we are surrounded by the steadfast love which is the promise of the Lord to those who put their trust in him. “Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.” (Psalm 32:11)
There is a human element very visible in the story of Jesus returning to his home town. We are reminded that there are going to be times when we are disabled from functioning as well as we might. There are going to be times when what we offer is rejected. There are going to be times when we are pushed away. There are times when we really do need to shake the dust off our feet.
We must not, though, become downhearted. Sometimes it is in our brokenness that Christ comes most closely to us and when we are most effective.
- How resilient is your faith? Are you easily discouraged? What can the local church do to help build you up and enable you to be confident and strong in expressing the things that you believe?
- When you encounter people who are less confident in what they believe, what do you do to help, encourage and build them up?