LENTEN MEDITATION ON MARK 1:29-35 - DR. BRADLEY DAVIDSON, SAINT AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues, and driving out demons.
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.
Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
There is a common theme in these stories from Mark's gospel. In each story, people sought Jesus. People who were sick, cast out, and who were worried about those they loved asked Jesus for help and healing. Simon's mother-in-law was sick in bed and needed healing. Her family sought Jesus. The people who lived nearby brought their friends and family to Jesus for healing and deliverance. The man with leprosy came and begged Jesus to heal him. Each time, Jesus stopped, listened, and answered the calls for help. Each time, he showed compassion, care, and love.
These past two years have been challenging. Many of us have faced illness, loss of jobs, uncertainty, worry, and even the loss of loved ones. Many of us are still in the midst of deep challenges in life. Like our brothers and sisters in these scripture passages, we can call out to Jesus for help, comfort, and healing. We can cry out in despair and need. And just like he did in these stories, Jesus will stop, listen to our cries, and answer our calls for help. He deeply loves and cares for us. His help and presence are as close as our prayer, our whisper, even as close as our very breath. He is right here, already tending to us with deep love. Rest in His loving care.
Thank you, Jesus, for caring. Thank you for being as close as our breath. Even when we do not know how to pray, thank you for answering us, just as faithfully as you answered the people in scripture. Help us to remember your love and experience your presence. Amen.
Brad Davidson. - Bradley Davidson, PhD is a personal and executive coach, spiritual director and a small group and retreat leader. He has attended St. Augustine’s for several years and was confirmed in 2021. His partner, Anthony, serves as the pastor for children and youth at a local Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation. Brad’s favorite pastimes include playing the piano, reading, and writing.
Various Clergy and members of St. Augustine contribute to authoring the blog on a variety of topics.