Do not fear, only believe (Trinity 4)
Do not fear, only believe. (Mark 5:36)
In today's Gospel reading, Jesus heals the daughter of the synagogue leader Jairus, and a woman with a haemorrhage. We see that his love is not excluded from anyone who dares to put their faith in him. “Do not fear, only believe,” he instructs Jairus when it seems that all hope is lost.
For the woman who had endured her bleeding for so long, and been disappointed by the physicians so many times, daring to believe gave her the courage to simply brush against Jesus robes. As a result of her faith she was healed and blessed with shalom from the Lord.
“Do not fear, only believe” is Jesus' charge to us as well. We should never underestimate the miraculous transformation that comes from even the simplest encounter with Christ’s love. Who will you help to brush against Jesus' robes this week? Even the simplest encounter with our Lord can bring life to those who will put their trust in him, and just like it was for Jairus' daughter, it is never too late.
Perhaps there is someone you know who could use a touch of his love? Or perhaps you yourself need to take the time to brush against his robes this week. If these words strike a chord with you, then “Do not fear, only believe” and reach out to the Lord. You won’t be disappointed.
Till next time,
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:21–22)
OT Lamentations 3:19–33
NT 2 Corinthians 8:7–15
Gospel Mark 5:21–43
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Trusting God in a storm (Trinity 3)
The Sea of Galilee is in the deepest part of the Northern Jordan rift – 215 metres below sea level – surrounded by steep cliffs and mountains except in its southern extremities. Hot air rises and cool air falls, so the cool air in the higher elevations is always wanting to swap places with the warmer air near the water. This often results in high winds, and waves of up to 9 metres.
It was in a storm such as this that Jesus and the disciples found themselves. Even though some of disciples were experienced fishermen, this was too much for them and they feared for their lives. To make things worse Jesus chose this moment to take a nap under the stern deck. Fat lot of good he was! Didn’t he care that they were about to perish? Of course he did! On hearing the disciples cry out for help, Jesus commands the storm to be still and the lake is calm once more.
The good news is that Jesus still cares. Whenever the waves of this life threaten to swamp and capsize us, all we need to do is to turn to him. Ultimately Jesus’ mission is to save us from being swamped by an even greater storm – our own sinfulness. Just as he heard the disciples’ cries and rescued them from the clutches of death, so he hears us when we cry out to him and brings his gifts of peace and healing and life into our troubled lives.
Till next time,
OT Job 38:1–11
NT 2 Corinthians 5:14–21
Gospel Mark 4:35–41
The kingdom of God (Trinity 2)
Today’s Gospel (Mark 4:26–34) is one to sit up and take note of, because Jesus gives us a clue about the workings of God’s kingdom.
All too often we try to put God into this box or that box, then get frustrated when God doesn’t work in the way that we have prescribed for him to do. But yet again Jesus reminds us that the workings of the kingdom are always much better than the way we might prescribe them.
Jesus shows us that in God’s kingdom, even the smallest of seeds can grow into something great. In God’s kingdom, a small baby born in a humble stable grows up to become a saviour, and people find comfort and security in him. In God’s kingdom, a tiny gathering of fearful people in a small, upper room in Jerusalem can become a gathering of more than 2 billion people who find their hope in him. And in God’s kingdom, with faith only the size of a mustard seed we can mature and grow in God’s love. And with faith only the size of a mustard seed, we can sow the seed of God’s love into the hearts of others and share with them the gift of eternal life.
Till next time,
OT Ezekiel 17:22–24
NT 2 Corinthians 5:6–10
Gospel Mark 4:26–34
Do you ever feel as though your faith has taken one beating too many? Do you ever feel as though even just one more knock might be enough to leave you lying in pieces? In our reading from 2 Corinthians (2 Cor 4:13–5:5) this morning, St. Paul encourages us to remember the hope and confidence we have through the gift of the Holy Spirit. No longer are we stuck in this earthly tent because we have a special dwelling place that is given to us by God: an eternal house in heaven not built by earthly hands.
If home is where the heart is, then there can be no better place for our hearts to find themselves than in the love of God. If you don't believe Paul, why not check out what the psalmist has to say:
You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
In John 15, Jesus encouraged us to abide in his love. Why? Because he knew that only when we live in the love of God can we fully be the people God has called us to be.
Rev. Andrew Smith
Vicar of Light in the Hills