(This post reflects some of my thinking for this week's sermon–the message to be based on the lectionary reading from Mark 7:24-37. )
The passage begins with Jesus going to the region of Tyre and Sidon–about 50 miles northeast of where he's been working in the Galilee area. Here, he meets a woman from the area who seeks healing for her daughter. Jesus then heads off to the area of the ten cities (Decapolis) where he heals a man. Both areas are not-Jewish; both persons are not Jewish (Gentile).
Two things stand out: Jesus went out of his way (a long way!) to heal. And Jesus went out of his way to heal persons considered "outsiders." Some considered them "defiled" or ritually impure because of their ethnicity and "religion."
What a guy this Jesus, huh? Let's all sing together: "What friend we have in Jesus." He'll go to any lengths to show God's love. I'm glad I'm a Christian so he can come to me in my need.
"If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable,
I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” (C.S. Lewis)
Is that it? A nice story about this wonderful Jesus? We KNOW that already. HE can turn water into wine; he can walk on water. Being a nice, loving person is kind of a DUH.
So, disciples-wannabe-apostles here's a question the passage poses without being stated: How far will YOU go to be a healing presence? How far OUT OF YOUR WAY will you go to be a comfort to others? Are you prepared to go out of your comfort zone, out of your region, out of your safe place and BE love to outsiders?
The gospels begin with a call to change course, a call to repent, a call to change one's mind/thinking. When one repents, one begins to understand the new realm God is establishing on Earth. Repenting is the first stage of relationship with the God known in Christ. It's the "dating period." Stage two is "Show-me-how-much-you-love-me."It's the "Will-you-go-out-of-your-way-for-me" stage.
C.S Lewis once said, "If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”