Our culture encourages an obsession with identity. "Who am I," we often ask, "in light of my race, ethnicity, economic background, sexual orientation and so on?" Today's reading from Mark's Gospel (the story of Jesus' baptism) is all about identity; specifically, the identity of Jesus. Who exactly is Jesus? What does God the Father say about him? How is his identity shaped by what he does? The story of Jesus' Baptism also encourages us to contemplate our own identity in light of Jesus. How does Jesus' identity shape and define whom we are? That's what Terence will be exploring in his sermon on Mark 1:4-11 (the story of Jesus' Baptism).
What Jesus Taught about Marriage and Divorce It's common to see headlines in the tabloids about the divorce of celebrities and other, high profile public figures. If there were tabloids in Jesus' time, a headline might read like this: “Royal Marriage Scandal: King Herod to Wed Herodius, the Divorced Wife of His Brother. John the Baptist Outraged!" With this divorce scandal on everybody's minds , the Pharisees approach Jesus with a question: "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" (Mark 10:2). In response, Jesus offers a lengthy teaching- a teaching that focusses, not so much on divorce itself, but marriage. The unspoken question that Jesus poses is this: What is God's ultimate will for marriage? What do the scriptures say? The response to this question ultimately informs Jesus' teachings on divorce. Join us as we take a closer look at Mark 10:1-12 .
"Even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the children's table!" When Jesus and his disciples journey to the gentile region of Syrophoenicia, they are interrupted by a pagan woman whose daughter is demon possessed. The Syrophonecian woman-- in a state of great desperation-- falls at Jesus' feet and begs him to cast out the demon. Jesus, however, says, no. "Let the children be fed first," he says, "for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs" (Mark 7:27). Undaunted, the woman replies, "Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs" (Mark 7:28). It is then that Jesus heals the woman's daughter. This story from Mark's Gospel raises a number of important questions. Why did Jesus say no to the woman? What did he means when he talked about the children's food not being thrown to the dogs? What did the woman mean by dogs eating the scraps that fall from the table? And, most importantly, what does this teach us about the woman's faith in Jesus? Rev. Terence will explore these and other questions in today's sermon on Mark 7:24-30.
If you read the gospels, you'll quickly learn that Jesus anticipated his crucifixion. He knew his death was coming. That being the case, could he have then sought to escape the cross? Could he have gone into hiding after that fateful supper with the disciples, when Judas went off into the night to betray him? Of course, Jesus did not do that because he knew that his death was necessary. But why was it necessary? What does Jesus' death accomplish? That's what Jasmine will address in her sermon as she takes a closer look at the 15th chapter of Mark's Gospel.
The Gospels tell many stories about how Jesus healed the sick. However, in his earthly ministry, Jesus did NOT heal every last soul in Galilee, Judea and the surrounding regions. In fact, on at least one occasion, Jesus left town BEFORE everyone had a chance to see him. What does that have to say about Jesus and his mission? That's what Jasmine focusses on in her reflection on Mark 1:29-39.
Because Jesus is indeed loving and compassionate we may be tempted to mistake him for a tame Messiah- one who stands in our corner, always taking our side. However, the truth that comes across so clearly in today's Gospel reading (Mark 1:21-28) is this: Jesus has come to confront and cast out the power of evil in this world. That includes the evil that exists in our communities and, indeed, within our very own hearts.
In today's sermon, Coralie will take a closer look at Mark 1:14-20, the story of how Peter and Andrew; James and John were called to be disciples of Jesus. Priests and pastors; missionaries, monks and nuns are NOT the only people with a special calling. ALL Christians have been called to some kind of ministry. What does it mean to be called by Jesus? What does it mean to truly be his disciple?