Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
Sunday Worship
11:00am Service
Pastor Heidi R. Chamberlain
Information info@potsdamumc.org

The Difference

February 5, 2012:

February 5, 2012
Potsdam and WS
Call:   Isaiah 40: 21-23, 28-31
Text:   Mark 1: 29-39
Read:   Psalm 147`(859)

                                Mobile Message

Today's gospel lesson is a lot like last week's.

It's one that we have heard before.

It's one that seems at first to be primarily tossed into the story
        For its historical value
        Rather than for any value that it might have in the lives of 21st century American Christians.

If you and I decide to spend this afternoon reading Mark
        (And I imagine that this is the choice most of you will make
If you are looking for an alternative to the Super Bowl)
        This passage is not likely to cause us to stop and say, "Ah, ha!"
                And instantly feel that our time spent reading the passage
                Has given us great insight into our relationship with God.

With that less than promising introduction,     I'll read the scripture
        And I'll let you reach your own conclusions:            [Mark 1: 29-39.]

Well, any "Ah, ha!" moments?

Now in asking that question, I am not asking
        Whether you wasted your time listening to it - you didn't
        Or whether it put you to sleep - only a couple of you.

What I am asking is whether any of you responded
        "Wow!  That passage moved me!"

And, just in case anyone here is inclined toward "stand up"
        I don't consider mother-in-law jokes to be "Ah,ha!" moments
So don't try:   How, do we know Jesus wasn't married?
                        He never would have healed a mother-in-law

        Or              Do you know why Jesus forgave Peter for denying him
three times?
Because Peter had forgiven him for healing his mother-in-law.

No, the value in this scripture is not instantaneously grabbing
And it's certainly not in providing fodder for comics.

The value in this scripture becomes apparent, however,
When we stop to think about it and reflect on it
For then we can recognize
that this seemingly routine part of Christ's story
                is an important turning point in Christ's ministry.

And we can relate to that   for all of our lives have turning points in them
        times when choices impacting the rest of our lives are made
some of them are made by other people or by circumstances
                most though, are made by us,.
Times like choosing a college
Times like choosing to get married
        Times like choosing to leave one job for another

Those choices often require giving up something we treasure
Those choices often disappoint and can even hurt other people.

In our scripture,
        Christ is in Capernaum where he is well received
        Peter and Andrew and James and John are happy there
it's their home town            their families are there.

And it appears from the way people were looking for Jesus,
        That there was plenty for him to do
        That many people were willing to come to him
        That there were not a lot of people threatened by him

In short,       It was a good gig               It was a safe gig.
        And the people there would be hurt and disappointed if he left

But after separating himself from the others
        And spending time in prayer
        His response to Peter telling him, "Everyone is searching for you."
                Was, "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.

And so, once again,
        Who Christ was          and who Christ is
was revealed in an act that is easy to overlook
        But which tells us just as much as the "Ah, ha!" moments do:
About           whom we are to be
And about               our relationship with God.

Jesus had been sent to convey God's message to the people
        Not just the people of Capernaum

That message was one of love and forgiveness for all the people
        Not just the people of Capernaum

That message was that God had not forgotten the people
        And it was not only the people of Capernaum whom God had remembered.

And so, he made the choice to leave the place where he was content

At this stage in his ministry
        Jesus delivered his message with words and with healing

In a later stage, Jesus would have to convey that same message
by the painful task of being nailed to the cross.

That later stage was too, a time when he could respond with the same words,             "Let us go on (to the cross)
                        So that I may proclaim the message there also
                        For that is what I came out to do."

In this simple story of leaving Capernaum,
we see Christ recognizing the task to which he was called
        And choosing to fulfill it rather than remaining in a good gig

In making that choice Christ set an example for us.

Choosing to fulfill that task was not without risk.
        Jesus and the disciples had to vacate their comfort zone
        And go out into less familiar
And, as we know, ultimately less friendly territory.
But Jesus did it anyway.

Just as he knew that he risked the pain and embarrassment of the cross,
        But chose to go to it anyway.

In making the choice to assume the risk,
He again set an example for us to follow.

The choice to fulfill the task to which he was called
And the choice to assume the risk that came with the task
        Were not only examples for you and me
        They were part of the message itself.

For the message of the words
And the message of the life of Jesus of Nazareth
        Was and is one of sharing.

Christ's coming into the world was an act of sharing
        It was God keeping God's promise to God's people
        It was God showing God's love to God's people
        It was God putting aside all that God's people had done wrong
                And giving them still another chance.

Christ's teaching was an act of sharing
it was God making another attempt to show us and instruct us as to  what we, as children of God,
need to do
and how we need to live with God and with each other.

Christ's death was an act of sharing
        Sacrificing himself for us
        To get all this across to us
that we might reconcile our relationship with God.

Everything about Christ shouts out a lesson in sacrificial sharing.

Can we even entertain the idea of Christ choosing to remain in Capernaum
        Instead of taking the message of his words and his life
        Out to all the people?

I can't.

Christ's message was - and it is - mobile, not static
        It could        it can  and it must             be taken out to all the world

Having looked at the example in this apparently routine scripture
        Don't we now (ironically enough) find ourselves saying, "Ah,ha!"
                "That's what we have to do too.