Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
Week of: January 28, 2018
Scripture: Mark 1:21-28
And the unclean spirit ... came out of him.
(Mark 1:26, NRSV)
By what do we measure our worship services? By style: traditional, modern, blended? By participation: "The congregation really sang those praise songs today!"? Perhaps by the feedback we receive: "Great sermon today! ... Never heard the choir sound better! ... The altar flowers were gorgeous! ..."?
In today's gospel lesson one might think it was the latter — measured by the feedback: "What is this? A new teaching — with authority!" (Mark 1:27b, NRSV). Wouldn't we all as preachers, worship leaders and designers love to be complimented on the new thing we did so convincingly!? However, what was truly important that day in the synagogue was that one man came sick, wounded, and hurt — and Jesus healed him. He was transformed.
In the midst of all our careful worship planning and preparation may we not lose sight of those who are broken, hurt, and in need of God's healing touch. May all we do and say in worship leave room for the new thing God is doing to transform our lives and the lives of everyone within our congregations.
God's transforming power can heal and change each one of us — the true measure of Christian worship!
I thank you God, for your transforming power to heal us. Amen.
Pastor and Retreat Leader
North Alabama Conference of The UMC