Saturday, February 7, 2015

Words for the week: Feb 1 - Feb 8

From Pastor Sarah
Last week, my sermon focused on 1 Corinthians and the debate over eating sacrificed meat.  Paul pointed out that this raging debate wasn't really about their diets, it was about their witness.  Our actions should always be influenced by the question: Does this action show God's love? 
It's tempting to turn our faith into a morality lesson.  Certainly our faith in Jesus affects our sense of right and wrong but Jesus did not die just so we could get a new set of rules that we would then - because we're human - fail to follow.  No, Jesus showed us something beyond ethics, beyond morals.  Jesus showed us love and love isn't summarized in a list of right or wrong actions. 
Listen to the sermon here.
This week, my sermon will focus on Mark 1:29-39, where Jesus heals illness and casts out demons. As I've prayed and discussed and studied this text, it's become abundantly clear that deeply faithful people have a variety of viewpoints on what is meant by these demons.  We don't know exactly what plagued the people Jesus encountered.  Were they displaying symptoms of what we'd now consider mental illnesses?  Were they epileptic?  Were they possessed by an evil spirit that goes beyond modern scientific explanation?  Does that spirit still enter people's bodies now?  Does it operate on a more communal level?  What is evil anyway? 
I admit that I'm puzzled by what exactly Jesus was doing back then or what the corollary would be for our time.  But I can say this for sure: Jesus was concerned with healing bodies and spirits, individuals and communities.  The healing ministry of Jesus is one that can speak directly into our lives, for as we all know, everybody is in need of healing of some kind.  
  1. When you think about evil and demons, what comes to mind?
  2. Jesus went out in the wilderness to pray.  Is it difficult or easy for you to find time alone to pray?
  3. In what way are you in need of physical healing?  Do you ever feel like you have a demon that needs to be cast out? 
Be at Peace,
Pastor Sarah

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