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Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

 

In preparing for this week’s message from the gospel of Mark 1:9-11 I found myself contemplating our reading of the Mark and life in our communities today.

 

My week began on Monday with the wonderful opportunity to officiate at a Celebration of Life/Funeral. In celebrating life in Jesus Christ I found myself very reflective. The life being celebrated in the Lord was one of 89-years and I thought of my paternal grandfather, his life and all that he lived through.

 

My paternal grandfather was born in 1892 and went to rest in the Lord in 1984. During his lifetime he lived through the following world events:  the Spanish American War, World War I, The Influenza Pandemic of 1918, The Roaring Twenties, The Depression, World War II, Korea, the Civil Rights Movement, and Vietnam. He saw the advent of the automobile and Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. While these events were taking place in his own personal life, with only an 8th grade education he went on to make his way in the world. In 1914 his father died and he became responsible for his mother and his sister. He married my grandmother who was the sixth oldest of 18 children. They had, if I remember correctly, six children: twins who died in child birth, three who lived to adulthood, and one, my uncle Richard, who was born with a congenital heart condition and died at the age of 15 or 16. A year later my grandmother died of cancer. There is always more to the story.

 

What then does this reflection upon family history, whether it is my reflection on my history or your reflection on your own family history, have to do with reading the gospel of Mark?

 

Two thoughts come to mind. The first is that the world I live in is really not that much different from the world my grandfather lived in. There are always challenges. There is always sin. There will always be a cry of the people seeking God’s salvation. In my head as I contemplate the times in which we are living I hear the song “Save The People” from the musical Godspell (1971). In researching this song I discovered that the English poet Ebenezer Elliott (1781-1849), wrote in his poem The People’s Anthem:

 

WHEN wilt thou save the people?          

  O God of mercy! when?           

Not kings and lords, but nations!

  Not thrones and crowns, but men!

 

We are all yearning for salvation.

 

Second, where do we find our salvation? This is where Mark 1:1-11 answers the question: Jesus Christ.  My question or challenge to you is how are you responding to the gospel of Jesus Christ?

 

We will are respond in different ways as we are different people who God has called together. We respond based on our own past and present journeys. We respond allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our hearts, minds, and souls.

 

My response over the past couple of years has been evolving as I have been challenged to read and contemplate outside of the western Christian tradition by several colleagues. I have been challenged to be still. My response has been to read through Scripture in a disciplined way each year, to be quiet for at least 20 minutes a day trying to empty myself and listen to God, and in the process recognize how God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is transforming my heart, soul, and mind to God’s will.

 

What is the next step? I do not know. That is for God to tell me and for me to respond. For now the response is to be in and with God.

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