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  • Writer's pictureMinister Jamie Seales

Get a Lift

Excerpts from Minister Jamie's sermon on February 4....


Mark 1:29-39

 

29As soon as [Jesus and the disciples] left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

 32That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

 35In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” 38He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” 39And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.           


My favorite celebrity, singer, actress, and superstar says she is often told, 'You are always so happy.' She replies, 'I’m not. It’s the Botox.' Dolly readily admits that she uses cosmetics to enhance her appearance. I love that she owns it in such a fantastic way. However, I have run across several folks this week who have benefited from it. One guy said that he uses it for his TMJ. Another friend of mine is a pastor and tells me that his wife uses it for migraines. What seems like cosmetics can serve other purposes. Also, this week some Holy T folks were compiling sayings for the sign out front. One of the sayings that I really liked was 'The world is ugly. Come in for a FAITH Lift.' Just this week Iraq was bombed. In the midst of ashes, there is still hope that gives us a spiritual lift. If we are going to get this spiritual lift, we are going to need something that can help lift us.


Today, we are still in the gospel of Mark. This text is the very text we need to get that lift. We have been in Mark for a while. We have read Mark’s account of Jesus’s baptism, calling of disciples, and power over lesser spirits. Our text for today follows that passage. Bible scholars are pretty certain that Mark was the first gospel written. Mark is writing because he believes Jesus is the Christ, but there is a problem. We live in a world that is not at peace. The Christ was supposed to establish a kingdom with everlasting peace. Yet, Jesus Christ doesn’t do it in the way that many felt Christ SHOULD bring peace. We get peace; there is an everlasting peace. It just doesn’t come the way we think it ought to come.


Jesus moves out of the synagogue, where he has authority over the 'lesser spirits.' Mark is letting us know that Jesus has authority in all places. Jesus has authority in Peter’s mother-in-law’s house. Simon, aka, Peter’s mother-in-law, is sick and in bed. The text says that Jesus 'took her by the hand and lifted her

up.' When we encounter Jesus, it ought to lift us up, not tear us down. The text doesn’t say, he put her down. No, he lifted her up. Jesus’ kingdom is a reign of goodness; his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. We can put our burdens down and find the healing that we need. If we are going to get the lift we need, if Holy T is going to be a community that others come in and get the 'lift' that one might need, we need to know how. I think there are a few components of spiritual Botox. It shifts one letter. We move from 'I got to' to 'I get to.' How many folks have lain in bed with the covers pulled over their head, not able to get out of bed? It’s so important that folks encounter a faith that 'lifts them up.' We do need a shift. A move from 'I got to' to 'I get to.' I get to come to church, I get to serve another, I get to have a new day.


I was talking to someone this week that challenged me. He is dealing with some sickness but told me about how lucky he is. How he 'gets' to get out of bed each day. He gets the opportunity to be a part of this day. We get to be a part of a community. If we can move to get from got, we can fight against the human tendency to long for relief syndrome. We all know that feeling. You finish a test, and you take a deep breath. Ah, you can breathe. That same feeling creeps in when we enter environments that we got to attend. When we are done, we can breathe 'ah.' The issue is that we are robbed of enjoying the company of others. We don’t get the lift we need.


One time, I was at football practice. I was on the end of the line (defensive end), and it was a sweep, the running back was running to the sideline, so I turned to run toward him. When I turned, there was someone running full speed and made a hard block. 'I was literally parallel to the ground.' After being stunned, I look up to a hand that was reaching down to me. He lifted me back up. This is what our text is getting at. When we are lifted up. We get the healing we need. We are returned to a place of love and service.


I would not be doing a good job if I didn’t mention the importance of the last part of this verse. The last part of this verse has been used to say 'women' are meant to serve men. Peter’s mother-in-law is healed, and she serves them. However, this serving is the same word used in Mark 10, where Jesus says, 'The son of man comes not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.' When we are healed, we get to share that healing with others. We get to walk alongside others as they seek the healing they need.


There is a simple test for whether we are moving to a place of healing, a place of love, and grace. It is about 'WE AND' it includes me. Notice I didn’t say BUT. But erased, AND includes. You and I are included. If it excludes us, if it is exclusive, then it’s not Jesus. We aren’t going to get to the spiritual lift that is needed. Also, it can’t be about any ME. It’s about Christ. Putting Christ at the center of our lives in a way that promotes healing, inclusivity, and a desire to serve others. Today, may each of us get the spiritual Botox that we need."

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