THE ‘LET’ OF LENT – Thursday, February 25th
Read Mark 1:35-39.
He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns,
so that I may proclaim the message there also;
for that is what I came out to do.”
Mark 1:38 (NRSV)
Jesus and his disciples have had some very busy days traveling the countryside, teaching and healing people. As his fame spreads, more crowds come to him for help and healing. So, on this day, Jesus gets up to have a quiet time of prayer in the early morning darkness. But the disciples search for him, and upon finding him tell Jesus that everyone is looking for him. And Jesus responds with our invitation for today: “Let us go on… so that I may proclaim the message… for that is what I came out to do.”
We have a mission that includes sharing the love of God. We have work to do that includes reaching others with the salvation news of hope, healing, joy, and peace. Today we are invited to be mindful of our mission as we go about our daily living. We never know when someone may be needing an act of kindness, an encouraging word, the healing of forgiveness, or the assurance that they are beloved by God and by us. When we begin to watch and listen for the needs around us, we will discover many opportunities to be compassionate, understanding, and helpful; we will have opportunities to reveal and share the love of Christ.
Notice that Jesus first takes time – early in the morning – to center in God through prayer. Yes, even as we have a mission, we also need to replenish and refresh our spirits in God. We are invited to rest, but not to “rest on our laurels” (to be satisfied with your achievements and not to make an effort to do anything else).* Do we see a need but then excuse ourselves? “I have already helped someone else this way” or “I donated to this cause a few months ago” or (one of mine) – “I write about my faith; do I really need to speak of it?” In our prayer time, we can ask God for strength, courage, motivation, or any help we need to serve God’s mission well.
There is another let verse in which Jesus speaks of his mission. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free…”1
In what ways might Jesus free us, show us, and release us to serve God’s mission? Do we need to be released from our desire for comfort, security, or ease? Do we need to be cured of our blindness to the plight of others? Are we being oppressed by such powers as doubt, or fear, or lack? When we pray that God will enable us to “let us go on” in our purpose and mission, in what new ways might we be set free? Jesus has come to do all of these – for us!
May we let Jesus inspire us to take enough time for prayer and reflection, to never stop pursuing God’s purpose and mission in our daily living, and to let Jesus free us from all that hinders us from doing so.
The Bible readings for tomorrow are Matthew 8:13 and 15:28.
*definition from Cambridge Dictionary
Bible verses found at BibleGateway.com