The scriptures for the first Sunday of February, the Sunday before the Transfiguration, are Isaiah 40:21-31 and Mark 1:29-39. Since I’m preaching about the healing of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (Mk 1:29-31), I thought I’d share my thoughts on another important message found in these verses: the Bigness is Smallness of GOD.
Isaiah offers a litany of the wondrous attributes of God. “Have you not known? Have you not heard?” The Lord God is bigger and stronger and well… more awesomer than you can imagine! The Lord God is a God of absolute power and might. God is a REALLY BIG GOD!
I think most people imagine God to be this way. BIG and DISTANT.
Mark on the other hand, seems to suggest God is a close-working, right-at-hand kind of GOD. Not distant. Not ginormous. But a GOD who takes time to leave the busyness of the day to spend time with others. Who accepts hospitality when it is offered and sits at table when invited. Mark sees GOD at work healing creation, community and creature through the very acts of Presence and Touch. A very simple, ordinary, almost forgettable act offered one-on-one.
Isaiah’s VERY LARGE GOD is not above caring for us as individuals. Jesus not only had cosmic sized work to do like announcing the Kingdom of God is coming, call disciples and cast out demons and silencing evil, but Jesus also slowed down to care for a woman suffering from a fever. He will tend the poor and lame, the ill and possessed and all those in the region who came for His help. One by one Jesus listened and tended to their concerns. Mark shows through these healing stories that our relatively small problems are not too small for the God who tends the universe.
How does Isaiah’s MOST AWESOME POWERFUL GOD manage to sustain the universe while strengthening the weak, and restoring those who have fallen? God works through the people around us. BIG AWESOME HEALING POWER – channeled through “little ol’ you and me.”
So where do we look to see GOD at work in the world? By looking to the everyday acts of service, care, and sacrifice we see all around us. Which means, that the seemingly ordinary lives we live can become at any given moment the place for the activity of the Holy One of Israel as God continues to love and bless the world… through us!
Jesus told His disciples,
“… but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45).
Dare we say;
“Have you not seen? Have you not heard? The Lord God almighty is at work in you, with you, and through you to care for the people and world God loves so much.”
God is with us and will continue to work through us – all of us, all ages; all genders; all races; all abilities; all and all. And God will even do marvelous things through us if we are open to it. Each of us has the opportunity to feel the creative, healing, and restoring hand of God and respond in service and in love.