Living the Lectionary

A starting point from week to week in my Journey from A-C


February 2015

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

But if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need!  I love The Rolling Stones, don’t you?

Before the Lenten season began I binge watched (over three weekends) Call the Midwife on Netflix. I really like the show, it’s about a group of nun and nurse midwives serving in the east end of London in the late 50’s.  I’ve included the link if you wish to read more about the show.

At this point Netflix only carries the first three seasons.  The season 3 finale was very poignant, and a reminder that what we choose and where we are called will not always be accepted by everyone.  Chummy, one of the nurses has a difficult relationship with her mother.  It seems to me that they have never been particularly close, but this distance between her and her mother is intensified by Chummy’s decision to work as a midwife in the east end, and her choice to marry Constable Noakes.  In this episode, Chummy however must deal with her mother’s terminal illness and it is difficult.  Yet, there is some healing that happens in the relationship due to some nudging by Sister Monica Joan whose own experience resembles that of Chummy.  Sister Monica Joan has been shunned by her family for her, at the time, radical decision to become a nun and midwife.

It seems strange that people who choose callings such as the characters in this show, should be rebuked for their calling especially when it seems so noble.  I can’t imagine not having the support of my own family in obeying my calling.  But in some families support is not given.  Perhaps it is simply because we all have hopes and dreams not only for ourselves, but for the people we love as well.  When those dreams are not met in the way that we expect then it can be hard for us to accept the alternative, as good as it might be.  We can’t always get what we want.

In Mark 8:31-38 Jesus let’s his followers in on a little secret; he informs them that his life is going to be marked with suffering and death.  Mark records him as saying this quite openly. This is not the outcome that the Jewish people who had been waiting and hoping for a Messiah who was going to rescue them from oppression and from the Roman rule, yet here is Jesus saying that the Son of Man will suffer and die.  Peter expresses his opinion on the matter and rebukes Jesus for saying such things.  Jesus however tells Peter (after calling him Satan?) that he is setting his mind on earthly things instead of heavenly things.

The kingdom of God is not like what many expect it to be.  Some will be disappointed in the call, others will be aggressive toward those who heed the call, and yet still many choose to walk in the way of the kingdom because though it calls for sacrifice it also leads us in the way everlasting.

Oh you can’t always get what you want, but indeed you will get what you need.


Into the Wilderness

By Oxh973 (Own work by Jennifer Balaska) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Lenten season is here once again. Why is it that people give things up for lent, a fasting of sorts?  To be completely honest I’m not sure I fully understand it in the traditional sense.  I come from a tradition that, well at least as I was growing up, never really had an emphasis that I can remember on these traditions of the church.

As I first discovered the practice of Lent, I used it as a personal challenge to see if I could give something up for the period of 40 days. It was usually something to do with food and the goal was not to draw me deeper into my faith, but to work toward a weight loss goal or something like that.

Over the last few years I have either chosen a fast only to give into my craving a day or two into the Lenten journey, or not fasted at all because I have not been disciplined enough in the past.

This year is different for me, I will be fasting from electronics during the Lenten season not because I want to challenge myself and see how well my will power will perform this year, but because since Christmas time I have been feeling the nudging of the Spirit toward the wilderness. There are of course a couple of exceptions that will need to be made for work purposes, but for the most part I will enter the wilderness during this time.

I will feel disconnected I am sure, I might even feel lost at times without my cell phone as an extension of my arm, or my games on iPad, or the TV to pass time.  I will not be lost however, because Jesus has already gone before on this journey and will be present as I do as well.

Mark’s gospel doesn’t give much detail into Jesus wilderness experience, but it comes before he steps out into public ministry.  Every Christian is in some way a “minister”, and perhaps we just need this time in the wilderness to prepare us once again for work in the Kingdom of God.

I don’t know if I have it right, but I know that God will meet me there!

(note: this blog will be published automatically over the next weeks during the Lenten season).

Healing and serving: Mark 1:29-39

It’s been a crazy few weeks in my world, and I haven’t been on the blog in recent days.  Now that things that slowed down though, I hope to be back at the weekly reflection as I do find it helps in my sermon preparation.

So on to Mark 1:29-39.

I had my gall bladder removed a few years ago, back when I was working in a different job.  The doctor who did my surgery advised me that I would feel better within about a week, but that I needed to take two weeks off work to ensure that I didn’t aggravate the healing.  So I did, and I felt a bit guilty when I started to feel better but still was not returning to work.

I was also not to lift anything heavy for at least 6 weeks following the surgery.  Sometimes though part of my job included lifting heavy boxes containing mailings going to the post office.  For the most part I let the guys around the shop do that as I healed, but I also began to lift smaller items that were a bit heavier and as I did I could feel the strain on the wounds from my surgery.

I learned that they tell you to take it easy after a surgery for a reason.

It seems strange to me on a couple of levels then that as Jesus enters the house of Simon’s mother-in-law, that after he heals her of her fever she gets right up and starts to serve the men.  Knowing what I know about the need to take it easy after a sickness, should the woman be up and immediately serving?  However, this woman has no trouble doing her work.  It seems that the healing that Jesus offers the woman is full and complete, and it restores her to immediate health.

The other thing I find strange, I guess it’s the partial feminist in me, is that I wonder does Jesus heal this woman just so she can get up and wait on him?  He doesn’t seem like the type to be pushing anyone into restrictive roles…but then I remember that I read the text with a 21st century experience, and that in Jesus day he was doing more than just healing this woman so she could cook dinner.  He was healing her and restoring her role, her purpose in this life.

Today Jesus might touch someone’s life and bring healing to them so that they can get back to being a mother or wife.  He might also heal to restore a female CEO to her position, or a preacher to hers.  The purpose of Jesus healing is to restore us all to serve in whatever capacity we are needed.

I’m more than OK with that.  Are you?

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