Day 325 | Sunday, 7 February 2021
The assigned Scripture readings for this the fifth Sunday after Epiphany are – Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-11, 20c; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23 and Mark 1:29-39.
Isaiah 40:21-31 The Message
21 Have you not been paying attention? Have you not been listening? Haven't you heard these stories all your life? Don't you understand the foundation of all things? 22 God sits high above the round ball of earth. The people look like mere ants. He stretches out the skies like a canvas - yes, like a tent canvas to live under. 23 He ignores what all the princes say and do. The rulers of the earth count for nothing. 24 Princes and rulers don't amount to much. Like seeds barely rooted, just sprouted, They shrivel when God blows on them. Like flecks of chaff, they're gone with the wind. 25 "So - who is like me? Who holds a candle to me?" says The Holy.
26 Look at the night skies: Who do you think made all this? Who marches this army of stars out each night, counts them off, calls each by name - so magnificent! so powerful! - and never overlooks a single one? 27 Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, "God has lost track of me. He doesn't care what happens to me"? 28 Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening? God doesn't come and go. God lasts. He's Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. 29 He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. 30 For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. 31 But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind.
Mark 1:29-39 The Message
29 Directly on leaving the meeting place, they came to Simon and Andrew's house, accompanied by James and John. 30 Simon's mother-in-law was sick in bed, burning up with fever. They told Jesus. 31 He went to her, took her hand, and raised her up. No sooner had the fever left than she was up fixing dinner for them. 32 That evening, after the sun was down, they brought sick and evil-afflicted people to him, 33 the whole city lined up at his door! 34 He cured their sick bodies and tormented spirits. Because the demons knew his true identity, he didn't let them say a word. 35 While it was still night, way before dawn, he got up and went out to a secluded spot and prayed. 36 Simon and those with him went looking for him. 37 They found him and said, "Everybody's looking for you." 38 Jesus said, "Let's go to the rest of the villages so I can preach there also. This is why I've come." 39 He went to their meeting places all through Galilee, preaching and throwing out the demons.
In the Isaiah passage we have a picture of the power, wisdom, and authority of the Lord. This passage declares that the Lord is both enduring in all times and present in all places. This God is especially concerned with the weak and powerless. “Those who ‘hope in the Lord’ will ‘fly up on wings like eagles’”.
In Mark we continue to witness the ministry of Jesus spreading. The emphasis, in this passage, seems to be mostly on healing and casting out of demons. Here is another example of how Jesus needed time to recharge his spirit as he goes off to a quiet place to pray. However, he was in high demand because of his miracles and he was found by the disciples.
What do you do, where do you go, when you have the need to be alone and recharge your spiritual, mental and emotional life?
God of rest help us find the time and places we need when it is time to be alone with you so we are strengthened to keep moving forward in life. Hear our prayers. Amen