Although I'm currently not preaching regularly given PhD final year need to focus, I'm trying to maintain a discipline of looking up, and engaging with, the upcoming lectionary passages. This to keep me 'in the loop' as it were, but also as a way of reflecting on where I might go if I were preaching...
Thinking on this weeks gospel passage Mark 1: 29-39 -
As soon as they left the synagogue, they 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.
Some initial bits n bobs:
healing of Simon/Peter's mother in law:
illness - disintegration
healing means she is able to be reintegrated back
she immediately serves them - enabled to take up her role as providing hospitality and welcome
that evening 'they' brought all the sick and demon-possessed to the door and he cured many - not 'all'?
Jesus, first thing in the morning, goes off to a deserted space and prays...
restoration... to serve
the disciples find him and he states that they are to go to the neighbouring towns so he may proclaim the message... 'what I came to do'
Teasing out a little more:
Having looked at Working Preacher [great resource fellow ministry students], what I began to tease out a little was the idea of disintegration, restoration, and reintegration.
WP highlights Simon's mother in law along these lines, which I quite liked. Moving with this a little further:
She's ill - in a sense there is a physical disintegration occurring here - she is restored, and then she serves - is reintegrated back into her familial role and enabled to be the provider of hospitality.
In turn, by being able to do so, she plays a part in the restoration of Jesus and the disciples - they are fed and watered and rested so that they too can serve... it prevents a possible 'disintegration' happening?
And so, the disciples bring all the sick, the demon-possessed to be healed - from disintegration, to restoration, to reintegration. [Interesting the text says 'many' not 'all' were healed]
For his own restoration - after giving of himself - Jesus goes off to a deserted place and prays...
before saying to the disciples it's time to go so he can continue with what he came to do.
So the passage could demonstrate a sort of ripple in the pond effect of moving from types of disintegration through to restoration and then reintegration... from a very localised context to a much broader one.
And that last ripple incorporating us as church in the present.