Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sun. Feb. 19, 2012 (Veronica Dyck)

The Gospel of Mark is self-described as being about 'good news' (Mark 1.1). John prepared some in society for a new way of thinking, and then baptized Jesus, who continued John's work. Mark's stories illustrated how difficult it was for people to grasp these new ideas. Last Sunday, Veronica Dyck reviewed how Jesus initially attracted supportive crowds (Mark, chapter 1) but then almost immediately (Mark 2) also attracted hostile criticism. Our morning's lectionary reading (Mark 2.1-12) took place in Capernaum, a home base for Jesus in Galilee. In this story, a lame man was somehow presented to Jesus by being passed through the house roof. As if this was not unusual enough, Jesus then further startled everybody by declaring that the man's sins were forgiven (possibly playing on the Jewish thinking that illnesses resulted from sins). Jesus did not claim to be the one forgiving, but instead left that part sufficiently ambiguous to make people think. Nobody (including Jesus) could actually prove this declaration since the forgiveness of sins is invisible, so Jesus then went one step farther and healed the man, something which was very visible indeed. (We have to wonder whether the real healing was spiritual. For instance, we can say that we are "healed" even though we are not physically cured.) The crowd was "amazed", but that observation does not imply belief. Throughout Mark's stories, Jesus is shown performing acts of external healing as a way of demonstrating the possibility of inner invisible healing. The message of God (forgiveness) receives priority in these stories, often followed by demonstrable physical healing. We used to have very clear notions concerning sin, but now societal thinking is changing. Some, for example, think that crime is merely the result of behavioral problems, not sin. We are now forced to ask ourselves, "What is sin?" Veronica also noted that, like the lame man and his onlookers, we need to learn how to accept forgiveness. These were the very same questions Jesus asked his contemporaries to contemplate. [JEK]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, February 19th, 2012 using your browser's preferred media player.

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1 Comments:

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May 5, 2020 at 8:49 AM  

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