Missing the Point

This sermon can be listened to here

Gate Pa – Year B  5th Sunday in Epiphany 2018,

Psalm             Psalm 147:1-11,20                                                     
First Reading: Isaiah 40:21-31
Second Reading:        1 Cor 9:16-23                         
Gospel:            Mark 1:29-39                         
What I want to say:
Look at how we might miss the point with some of these readings when we think it is about quick fixes for individuals
What I want to happen:
How are we a restored community of justice, generosity and aroha?

The Sermon

       1.     Introduction:

What is the point of the passage from Isaiah and the healing story from Mark
turn to neighbour (if want)

       2.     Isaiah

sometimes we have too small a reading of these kinds of passages
when that happens we are in danger of missing the point
let’s start with Isaiah reading
popular with tired people and sports people – give them energy to get on and win!
want to put this reading back for a moment
into time thought to have been written
beginning of 2nd Isaiah
1st 39 chapters written at the time of the fall of northern kingdom – Israel
-         Samaria –
-         to Assyrians
-         loss of 10 tribes
-         then turn attention to southern kingdom – remained loyal to Davidic rule
-         Judah
next group are thought to be written by those kept words Isaiah alive
-         reinterpreted them to new situations
new situation first of exile when Jerusalem fell to Babylonians (twice)
-          now new power rising – Persians
what heard today is hymn of hope to people worn out
no quick fixes in these words
promise to return home
-         home they have never seen
-         to a city in ruins
-         untold hardships getting there
o   and trying to return to normality
o   to a life hard to imagine
-         for many staying in Babylon would have seemed a good option
-         it is a promise that the exile will end
-         but then the hard work begins
easy to think when hear these words that God will make it all ok
-         God will be among them on the return
-         there is no quick fix here
Ø invitation for those in exile to pay attention to what deprives them of hope
o   to what bleeds them of their resolve
o   to what holds them fast in their present life
§  looking sadly back to how life had been in the good old days
§  unable to see any real future
-         invitation to embrace a bigger vision of world
-         invitation to a much bigger vision of God in world
o   not defeated
-         and invitation to return home – no matter how hard that would be
Ø for us – it is invitation to stop and pay attention to
R what deprives us of hope
R what bleeds us of our resolve
R to what holds us fast in their present life
o   looking sadly back to how life had been in the good old days
o   unable to see any real future
These words are for us
not quick fix
but words of hope none the less

       3.     Mark and Peter’s Mother in Law

easy again to miss the point with Jesus healing Peter’s mother in law
get stuck on Jesus healing
            either think we as church should do more
or we struggle with it – look for ways to explain them
-         lets face it very few quick fixes today in healing department
then whole other group get stuck on Peter’s mother in law getting up and serving them all
            some – that is place women
            others outraged by Jesus seemingly supporting these gender based roles
            and others trying explain that away too.
all of which means that like Isaiah passage
            we are in danger of missing the point
In Mark – Jesus teaches by doing
so when heals he is teaching about the kingdom of God coming among them
showing new way live in kingdom
Not heal everyone
-         but leaves to heal people in small towns across Galilee
when fixate on healing we miss that when people are healed they are restored
            to family
            to community
when they are restored those communities are changed
            these are not cities – but small towns
when this number of people are restored into community life
-         think what that does to way those communities function
healing individuals is not the point
healing communities is.
What do healed communities look like?
Peter’s mother in law shows us
she acts as a disciple
            (may well have been one women who went with Jesus and supported his ministry through Galilee to Jerusalem)
she behaves as Jesus did when he took a towel and washed his disciples feet
she sees their need and meets it
she is the first to do so!
The first disciple to live the way of Christ!
This is not a story just about people being healed
This is not a story about women serving while men do the real work
if we think that we miss the point.
it is about the Kingdom of God being present in restored and renewed communities
            communities built on aroha
the kind of aroha shown by Peter’s mother in law.

       4.     Us

We too are a restored community
we are icons of kingdom of God happening now
Like those in exile – no quick fixes here
Like Peter’s mother in law
invited to be disciples and to serve each other with aroha
look at your neighbour
what might it mean to serve them with generosity and aroha