Lent – 5th reading for discipleship reflections

James DouglasLent Readings and reflections, Reflections

Running a bit slow this morning – maybe it’s time for a second coffee.

Reading: Mark 1;32-39

I need to remember this passage when I’m feeling frustrated about having a long day, or feeling like I’m being bombarded by people who need my input, decision or help. Jesus deals with the people in front of him, not worried by the gathering of the ‘whole city’ around the door. He also deals with the demons, who Mark represents as wanting to speak because they ‘knew him’, by not permitting them to speak. I wish I could do that with the ‘demons’ that turn up while I’m under pressure and claim to know me, particularly the ones who whisper to me about my limitations and fears. Perhaps Marianne Williamson, famous for her spiritual writings, has a lesson for me:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

I know Jesus liberated and liberates others, and never shrank from who he was, even though the gospel of Mark depicts him keeping his divine identity ‘secret’ until the very end. In this passage, Jesus also takes time out to pray, having a personal Sabbath, away from everyone but close to God. When his disciples find him, he has a clear sense of a continuing mission and purpose, ready for what’s ahead. That’s why I need to remember this passage – not just to survive times of pressure, but to keep a sense of purpose and direction.