The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 7
29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. Mark 1: 29-31And she served them. When I read this line, I have to admit I want to go ugh...She has been sick, sick enough that the disciples spoke to Jesus about her. Jesus goes to her sick bed, takes her hand and lifts her up. She is healed and serves them. So part of me wants to scream at the text, can't she even rest after her her illness? Does she have to get right back up catering to their needs? Does she have to fall right back into her roll of caring for the family?
So after my initial angst with the text, I have to ask what Mark is trying to show us about the dawning kingdom. We are called to serve not be served. In Mark, many of the unnamed characters show us what it means to live life in the kingdom. Not only do the unnamed people show us how to live, they become the true disciples of Jesus.
So here in this story, the named disciples are with Jesus witnessing his acts, in this story they bring to Jesus' attention someone in need, but it is Peter's mother-in-law who illustrates discipleship. She performs one of the first offices of the church, to be a deacon, one who serves others. When we look at the woman at the center of this story, we see a person who when touched and healed by Jesus becomes part of the dawning kingdom by passing on what she has received. Her response to healing is to begin helping others, to pay forward what she has received. When you encounter the Holy One of Israel, how will you respond? Will you join the work of building the kingdom or will you go back to your ordinary life changed but not transformed?
I am preparing to go in the house. I never know who are what I will encounter. Will she remember me? Will she remember her past? Will she share stories of times gone by? Will she be quiet lost in her interior life? Will she ask about the church and the people in it? This day is a good day. She has remembered that I was coming. When I go into her room for communion, she talks about the church, her husband, working for the government and then asks her son to bring us the candy she got especially for me. We share in this chocolate bring the bread and drinking the wine. It was her day to serve me. Who will you serve today?
As you settle yourself into the quiet and stillness of God's presence, breath deeply the healing power of God. As you sit in stillness ask God to share with you a way you can serve others. Let a neighbor come to mind is there one who is elderly and could use a ride or some errands taken care of. Ask God if there is a person in your church or life who could use your help. Let that person's image come into your mind. Then ask God to help you be of service by guiding your hands and feet to help.