Yr B ~ Epiphany 5 ~ Mark 1:29-39
If you’ve been with us through January then by now you’re probably getting pretty adept at reading between the lines in the Gospel of Mark. We know that Mark writes very sparingly, and that everything happens in a hurry as there seems to be a breathlessness to it all and an urgency that’s driving everything. But I also want to remind us all that even though we’ve been doing a close and careful reading of Mark for 5 weeks now that we’re still only 39 verses into chapter 1! And that makes a difference because while it may seem to us like it took a long time to get to this point, in the narrative it’s still just barely beginning Jesus’ story. And that makes us see what I want to talk about today in a different light.
Let’s review what’s happened in Mark chapter 1 so far. It begins with a few verses of narration and context, and then John the Baptizer appears, and Jesus makes his entrance (v.9) and is baptized. As he rises from the water he has a profound spiritual experience where he sees the supposed barrier between God and humans ripped open and he’s enfolded in God’s Presence and voice.
Then he has a very briefly described 40 days being tempted in the wilderness followed by a trip to Galilee to begin his public ministry by preaching.
Now we’re all the way up to v.14.
Then he calls his first disciples, completely upending their lives, and by v.21 their gang has entered a synagogue for worship, and of course, Jesus creates quite a scene. That was what we looked at last week.
Let’s pause a moment here and think about what’s going on.
How would you describe what Jesus is doing during verses 14 to 28 – from the time he started preaching, calling disciples, and shaking up synagogues? I’d call it public ministry and engagement.
How would you describe his spiritual energy? I’d call it pretty high!
Now a possibly strange question. Would you say he’s sending energy out or drawing energy in?
The answer may not be obvious – or even matter!
I’m an introvert. Yes, I have a public ‘dancing monkey’ kind of job but being an introvert means I get my energy from my time away from people. You can’t judge an introvert or extrovert by their public persona – it’s where they get their energy from.
Extroverts get their energy replenished by being with people.
I enjoy being here and doing what I do, and I also end up flat out on the couch on most Sunday afternoons!
An extrovert might find themselves all charged up from being in the midst of this many people and find themselves primed and ready to go afterwards.
No one has any idea as to whether Jesus was an introvert or an extrovert. And the case I’m going to make this morning is that the rhythm Jesus follows is deeper than just being introverted or extroverted.
It’s a spiritual rhythm for everyone.
If I had lived those first 28 verses in Mark’s gospel I’d be utterly exhausted. Maybe he was too. Or maybe he was jazzed by it all. Doesn’t matter.
Ultimately, it’s neither physical nor spiritual energy we’re really talking about. It’s bigger than those.
Let’s look what happens.