Text: Gracia Grindal. Tune: Amanda Husberg
Gospel for Epiphany V Series B
1. Everywhere he made them whole, Whole in body, mind and soul:
When he healed the deaf and blind,
Curing fevers, troubled minds.
2. All around us there is pain,
Pain too weak to call Christ’s name.
Still he enters in to heal
All the grief and hurt we feel.
3. In this healing, heaven nears,
Nears to all our heartaches here.
Jesus helps us glimpse the day
When our pain will fade away.
4. When our Savior calls us home,
Calling out, Beloved, come,
He will raise us, healed, restored
Singing praises to our Lord.
Epistle for Epiphany V Series B
I Corinthians 9:16-23
Text: Gracia Grindal Tune: Iteke Prins
1. To speak God’s Word, a living fire,
Its flames must cleanse my hearts desire
So what comes through
Is God’s word lived in all my flesh
So every word and every breath
Is clear and new.
2. We think a word by our intent
Will say exactly what we meant,
But never does.
A word intended to be right
May cut and hurt by morning light
And make us foes.
3. God’s Word must burn away my pride
So I can speak of him who died
To make me whole.
I pray God’s Word will work in me
To bring me Christ’s humility
And fill my soul.
The Gospel for next Sunday makes me weak. Although Jesus was God deep in the flesh as the theologians say, he was also flesh like us, needing rest and restoration. And everywhere he goes people are flocking to him, as Mark tells us, “the whole city was gathered together at the door.” That is a vivid picture. Scripture tells us that Jesus had to seek refreshment in prayer often, so he arose early and went “to a desolate place” to pray. Peter finds him and tells him what he already knows: "Everyone is looking for you."
He both goes where his healing is needed, and people come to him wherever they can find him. The moment with Peter’s mother-in-law is a wonderful story. I love the way he comes in and touches her, raising her up so she can make dinner. First of all he's healing a woman. Some might smile that he heals her so he can get dinner, but that is a bit cynical. What she probably wanted more than anything was to be normal again, to be restored to do what she had been called to do. He heals her so she can continue in her vocation. One who has been sick for a long time wants nothing more than the mundane to come back, a time when we can do what we always have done without a thought.
People who are sick unto death and know they are about to die report that their experience of the ordinary in life is so much more intense, that the fuzz on a peach, a glass of water, a child’s reaching to bite into a piece of chocolate, become moments of intense joy and thanksgiving.
God grant that we might be able to see that God works in the daily orders we must keep for life to flourish and that we will see his hand in those things. The simplest daily moments are miracles as much as dramatic healings.
The preacher has the job of speaking the truth of Christ’s presence among us, healing and making us whole. Preaching the truth is a vocation of the highest significance—telling people in the congregation of all that Christ has done and will do—sort of reporting from the other side or dimension what is going on for our sake. For that the preacher must pray for cleansing all the time so that he or she can tell the difference between God’s word and theirs, and at the same time understand that God’s word has to be enfleshed in their words.
Those words, we are promised, can bring peace and healing. Maybe not always so dramatically as we see in Mark, but we are called to bring Christ’s word everywhere we go. As Paul says in his almost agonizing confession about what preaching means to him, “I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them its blessings.” Pray God’s word will work in you also so you can share the blessings in his saving word with all those you meet!
Both of these hymns come from A Treasury of Faith series I wrote on the Revised Common Lectionary texts. Both Amanda and Iteke have given them good tunes. Their tunes are not on Youtube, but enjoy some of their work.
Amanda’s hymn I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
Iteke Prins/Fantasia for Organ played by Carson Cooman
NB: Lent is only a couple of weeks away. A wonderful Lenten discipline is reading the Passion hymns, one for every day of Lent. Follow the link to buy it and receive it in time.