Mark 1:35-39

In the morning, while it was still very dark, Jesus got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.  Mark 1:35-39

This past Sunday, the Sunday after Christmas, Kelley and I watched worship at our church via the Internet.  We were enjoying some days away at a beach house.  Our associate pastor was also spending the day on vacation with his family.  We don’t like for both pastors to be gone on the same Sunday but that is how it worked out this time.  And the folks at Faith got along just fine, worship ably led by our Director of Music and Worship.

 

I still wondered how that would sit with our people.

 

Many people have a kind of “magical” sense about the Christian faith.  They believe, in the grand scheme of things, that God invests pastors with certain “powers” that are unavailable to “regular” people.  They think God gives pastors special protection.  They think pastors’ prayers get to the head of the line.  That pastors alone have the “power”, the spiritual juju, to turn regular water into holy water or the bread and wine of Holy Communion into the actual Body and Blood of Jesus.

 

I can assure you, after several years in the position, that this certainly isn’t true in my house.  I am no more “spiritual”, no better or worse, no holier, or godly, or special, than anybody else.  However, what is true, is that I have been called, and trained, to serve in a unique capacity in the church.  I get to do the stuff in the front of the room and to lead behind the scenes. 

 

As Lutherans put it, all Christians are ordained in their baptism for service in the church and the world, but, for the sake of good order, (you could call it quality control or at least that the person in the front of the room has some idea of what he or she is doing), some people are set aside to serve within the ordained ministry.

 

So yes, I know some stuff.  I keep learning all the time.  But what is most important is not simply that I know about God, but that I know God.  Personally.  And that means that I am daily and diligently working on my side of that relationship.  As a pastor, the people I serve make it possible for me to have almost unlimited time to do just that.  It is one of the many benefits of this life that God has led me into.  But never is this just about me – here I am more like a scout who walks in front of the crowd, once finding the path, I could back and invite them to follow me as I follow God.

 

So let me do that now.

 

Jesus got up early in the morning and went off by himself to pray.  We can do that too.  No one else in the world has the power to determine when we wake up or when we go to sleep.  We get to make those two choices every day.  And we get to decide what to do with those first and last moments of every day.  Here’s the invitation for 2014 – use those moments to develop your conscious contact with God.

 

A few minutes in the morning for prayer, for reading, for writing, and you will carry a sense of God throughout the day.  A few minutes before going to bed and you can unload your worries and cares into the hands of the One who loves you and takes care of you.  Just a few minutes a day and you will very quickly come to a new understanding that God doesn’t need to be “conjured up” by a pastoral specialist.  God is right there with you.  Always.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, teach us some new spiritual disciplines this year.  Inspire us to make more time to be with you, conscious of your presence, open to your guidance.  We know it worked for Jesus.  We trust it will work for us.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 

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2 Responses to “Mark 1:35-39”

  1. Sharon Boyd Says:

    Thank you again for the support I receive from you. Even at 70, I sometimes still feel that I am still in Christ’s Kindergarten class. God bless you & your family this day & always.

  2. Carolee Groux Says:

    We long for a closer relationship to God, and your suggestions of how to be more disciplined to that end are great. The longing for God’s presence and guidance remind me of this hymn.

    “Just a Closer Walk With Thee”.

    I am weak, but Thou art strong;
    Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
    I’ll be satisfied as long
    As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

    Refrain:
    Just a closer walk with Thee,
    Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
    Daily walking close to Thee,
    Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

    Through this world of toil and snares,
    If I falter, Lord, who cares?
    Who with me my burden shares?
    None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

    When my feeble life is o’er,
    Time for me will be no more;
    Guide me gently, safely o’er
    To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.

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