Theme : Magic Eye: The Healing of Peter’s Mother-in-law
Gospel: Mark 1. 29-39
Jesus Heals Many
29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 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.
Jesus Prays in a Solitary Place
35 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. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Suggestions for Hymns and Songs:
God is good
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord
There is a Redeemer
Glory to God, Glory to God,
My Jesus, My Saviour
God is love, let heaven adore Him
Open our eyes to your presence
Open our minds to your grace
Open our lips to your praises
Open our hearts to your love
Open our lives to your healing
And be found among us.
Lord and Master of our lives...
Take from us the spirit of laziness,
and idle talk.
Give us rather the spirit of integrity
purity of heart, humility, faithfulness and compassion.
Lord and King,
help to see our own errors,
and not to judge our neighbours,
for your mercy’s sake.
(prayer source unknown)
Priest: If we claim to be without sin,
We deceive ourselves
and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins
God is faithful and just
and will forgive our sins,
and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Young children: Have an adult to supervise a session in an adjoining room for ten minutes, allowing the children to imagine they are talking to Jesus one at a time on the telephone. What kind of things would they want to ask him; thank him for; which ill, lonely, or needy people would they ask him to bless. Invite them to imagine they can hear him . . . what would he be saying to them?
Invite older children to write a letter in the same way . . .and they may also write a reply from him.
Also see how many can actually see images in the Magic Eye cards.
Address: Magic Eye
When we attended Jesmond Parish church in our younger days, with just one child, we were invited to a meal after church by a young couple with four children… nothing was too much trouble…
But what if the mother hadn’t been at church and was back home preparing that meal, and when we arrived we discovered she was ill instead…
How embarrassing a situation would that have been for all of them.
A similar situation arises in our gospel today.
Synagogue/synagogue meal to follow…Peter’s Mother-in-law ill.
Again, rather like wine running out at a wedding… we find here also a potentially awkward and embarrassing situation for Simon Peter and Andrew who want to demonstrate hospitality to their master Jesus.
Here instead is a cold home, dimly lit, no home cooking smells, the main provider ill in bed.
....annoyance, frustration, disappointment
Jesus looked beyond their embarrasssment and with a unique authority and great compassion, he took Peter’s mother-in-law by the hand and lifted her from her bed, and the fever left her!
Scene 2 takes place at the end of that day… time to relax, get to know more about the master, get his full attention, learn important lessons, discuss future ministry and plans; then there is a knock at the door!
Why had the crowds not come to see Jesus before then, after all the word must have got round that he had cast out a demon in the synagogue that day?
The reason is that it was the Sabbath, and no-one was permitted to lift anything or anyone, there were limits on how far you could walk, certain rules people had to abide by.
It was only NOW they could come at the end of the day, as three stars appeared in the evening sky, the Sabbath was over.
Who knows, word may have also got round that Simon’s mother-in-law had been healed herself. Good news travels quickly.
So in the crowds come, the ‘whole city’? 10,000?
The noise, the inconvenience of it all, the intrusion! …the audacity!
But Jesus looked beyond the inconvenience, and the hustle and bustle to the anxiety and fear etched on the faces of the unwell and with a unique authority and great compassion, he healed a great many of them and cast out demons from others.
Perhaps they all had a late night, as a result of that evening. Jesus was up before anyone stirred, and off to find a quiet place where he could spend time in prayer.
But the disciples found him.
‘Come back,’ they said, ‘everyone is searching for you.’
What were the disciples after, were they excited that Jesus was in demand, and popular and quite famous by now. Surely this would be good for him and his cause, and for their names to be linked with his?
Where they were short-sighted, Jesus looked beyond to his Father’s will, to his calling, to the world beyond that town, to his destiny, to future centuries, and he moved on to take his message even further afield. What makes us think we wouldn’t have done the same and thought the same as the disciples? Moving on discomforts us and shakes us up!
Jesus knew the very heart of God and His purposes for him and for his world.
Many of us in today’s world, I’m sure do react with knee jerk reactions and we see things at face value, just like the followers of Jesus then.
Do we not always put ourselves first and of course the needs of our families.
Do we not experience frustration, annoyance, get angry, become embittered and fearful when situations are not to our liking.
Do we not delight in those with celebrity status and go running after them, and do we not seek some small portion of fame or fortune, comfort, contentment.
The gospel highlights all of these.
The gospel also reminds me of these cards: ‘Magic Eye cards’ which all of you have been given.
They’re like world we live in, which many say at present seems a sad and confusing place to be.
The cards are unusual, colourful and creative yet they also remind us of disorder and confusion.
But they invite us to look into them and beyond.
INVITE THREE WHO CAN SEE IMAGE(S) EMERGING,
AND THREE WHO CAN’T... TO COME OUT.
INVITE THOSE WHO CAN SEE TO TELL THOSE WHO CAN’T SEE, WHAT THEY DO SEE, AND SIT DOWN.
INVITE THOSE WHO CAN’T SEE TO RELAX, REFLECT AND LOOK THROUGH, LOOK BEYOND, and it just may be that some of them may come to see.
1 Hold the picture close
2 Relax, empty mind of distracting and negative thoughts.
3 Then slowly take the picture away- to arms’ length
4 Be patient focussing, gazing through not AT the picture, expecting and hoping.
5 All will be revealed
Don’t worry if you can’t see anything as yet, sometimes things like this take time, and we have to rely on the testimony of others.
One day we will know all there is to know;all our questions will be answered.
In the meantime we are called as Christians to
‘FIX OUR EYES UPON JESUS, THE AUTHOR AND PROTECTOR OF OUR FAITH;(just like those who came seeking healing at Simon Peter’s door) TO RELAX IN HIS LOVE; TO SEE BEYOND AND THROUGH THINGS WHICH GIVE US CAUSE FOR CONCERN AND BEGIN TO SEE WHAT HE SEES, AND ASK WHAT IT IS HE WOULD LIKE US TO DO.
Instead of asking ‘Why is this happening to us? We should ask, ‘Why should it not?’
When we fall into situations we don’t understand or think are not fair or undeserving, it’s at these times we could give our best witness.
It is important to know God’s peace in every situation as we attempt to take Jesus’ message of mercy, healing, forgiveness, hope and eternal love.
Peace is a gift; it reaches out to us today.
Will we take hold of it?
Many of you may have heard of a well known vicar from York, called David Watson who was hugely influential at one time. As he lay dying from cancer, having had treatment from chemotherapy and feeling absolutely useless and feeble, unable to continue his ministry… he began to pray, and as he prayed he felt God’s loving presence, and he heard God say to him:
David, I don’t want your ministry. I only want you. This is when you are most precious to me. When you come before me with nothing to give except yourself!
Only six short verses, but in all no less than thirteen entreaties to PRAISE God, focus upon him, and leave our own opinions, our concerns and fears, our likes and dislikes and personal preferences at the door.
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his holy place;
Praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
Praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
Praise him with harp and lyre,
Praise him with tambourines and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.