Mark 1: 29-39
Today is a fun day in church, a far from humdrum, ordinary day, a unique day. We’ve celebrated and participated in the Feast of Our Lord of Football by bringing together food for those less fortunate and celebrated service by having Scout Sunday, as well. And rather than choosing patron saints, some of us have chosen to wear our chosen favorite football teams’ gear. It’s a fun day!
It helps to remember that our model and teacher in the faith, our Savior and Lord, was not always solemn, either. Remember that in John, his first miracle was at a wedding when the wine ran out!
Faith and service need always been a solemn occasion, and indeed, we have made today a celebration of service, not just of food and football and television. Oh, make no mistake, I will be in front of my TV later, just like most of us, and I will have cooked a special meal beforehand. I am celebrating the Feast of our Lord of Football just fine, thank you!
Today’s scripture is a great scripture that supports the theme of what we’ve made of this feast, which is a celebration of service. Simon (Peter)’s mother in law is sick with a fever, and Jesus heals her of the fever. How does she respond? She gets up and replies in service. It’s too bad we don’t know her name (it’s too bad there are so many times in the Bible that women are not named), because it would be great to speak of her as a fully human being, this woman who in a sense was saved by God, and responds the way we all should, by serving.
In that culture, in that time, women had very few roles. Rich women had a little more leeway than most, but all women were confined into a strict set of roles. To serve the men, to have children, to raise the children. While it may seem a little jarring to some in our society that her response to Jesus’ healing her was to immediately tart cooking, she was doing what she knew.
For us today, then, the lesson of Simon’s mother in law is not to go cook in response to Jesus taking her hand and healing her. Our actions in response to the saving spirit of God in our lives can be anything we do well, but placing it in the service to the children of God. Some of us can indeed cook, and take our food to soup kitchens in Wilkes Barre, Tunkhannock, or take food to those who are ill or have suffered loss. Some of us can fix things, and some of us can do taxes; some of us can talk, and some of us can build. Some of us can sing, and some of us can play. Some of us can organize VBS, and are good with children, and some of us are faithful shovelers of the church’s sidewalks.
We do what we know. Simon’s mother in law cooked, and our youth group leaders organized and made soup for the local soup kitchen yesterday as a youth group project. One person keeps the church’s books; another plays music for worship; you do what you know, and it is all service, and it is all for the glory of God. Scout leaders do what they know, sometimes stepping in reluctantly, but out of necessity, and they do it, though they may not think of it this way, for the glory of God. It need not always be in service to the church, either, but if it is in service to our fellow children of God, (and they are everywhere, they are everyone); if it is in service to the Children of God, then it is to the glory of God.
Think of the soldiers listed in our bulletin; they do it our of a sense of service; they are doing it to the glory of God, Christian, Jew, or Muslim or whether they believe in God or not!
Think of Hospice workers; it may be a job, they may be getting paid, but that’s not a job you choose out of a sense of selfishness; though they may not think of it this way, it is to the glory of God.
Traveling nurses, rest home nurses, hospital nurses; all to the glory of God.
Everything we do, from plumbing to photography, farming to fiddling, can be placed at God’s feet as gratitude for what Jesus has done for us. It can all be done to God’s glory.
All Simon’s mother in law did was do what she knew, to the glory of God. All Jesus did in this whole passage was heal. Even when he tried to rest, he was called out from it, and went back to healing. And all to the glory of God.
Anything we do, and do well, anything that assists others, is done to the glory of God, in gratitude for what we have been given.
May we always think in terms of giving back, and may we always seek to offer our best to God.