Category Archives: Mark

A peaceful solution

Refugee Children
Andy Wheatley, UK Department for International Development
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” Mark 9:37

When I am dismayed by the violence, finger-pointing, injustice, and anger that is prevalent in society, I look deep inside to uncover and let go of my own envy, arrogance, selfishness, and resentment.

To bring the fruit of peace, responsibility, compassion, and forgiveness to my interactions is my daily calling so that I may be a small part of the solution to what troubles our world.

Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace. James 3:16-18

Impediments

Meister von Müstair
Heilung des Taubstummen
fresco, ca.830
Müstair (Schweiz), Klosterkirche St. Johann

Sometimes I cannot hear the Lord’s call to love my neighbor, forgive those who hurt me, and befriend the poor. It’s not that I willfully oppose the Lord’s call, but that I am afflicted in the moment with anxiety, depression, physical pain, or other distracting states of mind and being.

May I forgive myself for my human imperfections and pray that the impediments that prevent me from hearing, speaking, and acting on the Good News of love and healing be removed.

[Jesus] said to him, “Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” —And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. Mark 7:34-35

In trust

Jan Luyken
Eating with Unwashed Hands
Etching from the Phillip Medhurst Collection of Bible illustrations housed at Belgrave Hall, Leicester, England
By Phillip Medhurst [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Life experiences can be overwhelming, stressful, and undermining, but they are not a reflection of who we are. We are God’s beloved daughters and sons. Nothing will ever change God’s love for us.

Today I will thank God for loving me. When adversity enters my life, I will trust God is with me, and respond with courage, forgiveness, and compassion.

He summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” Mark 7:14-15

Together

By Phillip Medhurst [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), from Wikimedia Commons

Let us walk together in our quest for unity, peace, and love.

Let us remember God’s power gives us the authority to eliminate divisiveness, war, and fear.

Let us live in humble awareness of God’s will that we love one another as God loves each of us.

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. Mark 6:7

Afflicted

James Tissot (1836-1902)
L’hémoroïsse
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

Rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, dyslexia, migraine, alcoholism, glaucoma, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness: affliction is a part of the human condition.

Through no fault of our own, our genes and bodies and minds have been wired for our particular afflictions. And while we may seek mainstream medical solutions and traditional therapies to help us cope, some afflictions don’t go away.

Afflictions do not make us unworthy of God’s love, or “less than” as human persons. We are made in the image of God’s love and goodness—and nothing can change that.

Our most important work is not to figure out why we are afflicted, but to reach out in humility to touch the Lord and ask for compassion and healing in whatever form they may manifest: mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Mark 5:25-29

Tiny seeds

Mustard Seeds in a Plate at Reganigudem, Visakhapatnam district
By Adityamadhav83 [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

A friend who has cancer maintains a positive, hopeful outlook in the midst of receiving chemo treatments for her bone marrow.

“You always inspire me,” I told her recently as I coped with the anxiety of a job search.

“You just made my day,” she said. Her gracious reply energized me to banish the idol of worry and put my attention on the things of God.

Tiny seeds of appreciation, respect, encouragement, love, and compassion do grow and spread and bear great fruit.

Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.” Mark 4:26-27

Family

Let us be the family of the Lord. Let us love one another. Let us pray for our enemies. Let us help the poor and the homeless, the refugees and immigrants. Let us comfort the lonely and grief-stricken. Let us welcome the rejected and abandoned. Let us show compassion to the suffering. Let us forgive those who have hurt us.

[… Jesus said,] “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:34b-35