Worship Preview 2.4.24 "Proclamation and Service"
Scriptures – Isaiah 40:21-31, Psalm 147: 1-11 (&20c), 1 Corinthians 9:16-23, Mark 1:29-39
We continue to follow Jesus and his disciples through the region of the sea of Galilee as shared in the 1st chapter of the Gospel of Mark. I’ve talked about how Mark’s account is very concise, emphasizing the word “Immediately” and covering events other Gospels spend paragraphs on in a line or two. We are 29 verses in and we’ve moved from the opening proclamation to John the Baptist baptizing at the Jordan, the temptation in the wilderness, the call of the disciples Simon, Andrew, James and John, last week’s story of Jesus encounter with a man and an unclean spirit in Capernaum’s synagogue and the way the people are astounded by his teaching and authority. This week we remain in Capernaum, venturing just a couple of blocks from the Synagogue to Peter’s house.
Peter’s mother-in-law is sick – our translations say with a “fever” – the Greek suggests a serious illness. Jesus simply takes her hand, “lifts her up” and she is made well, and immediately begins serving them. Sometimes this story is difficult for us to read as we read “and she served them” as somehow defining women’s role or as “servitude." We must see how this story is connected to those around it, see with eyes of wonder and amazement, then unpack those terms to refer here to joyful service – and too many generations have suggested that stories like this woman’s are somehow definitive of the role all women should play. Instead, we must realize that in “lifting her up” Jesus is restoring her to a desired role as host in this household. Her service is in joyful response, using her unique gifts. This story is not about defining or limiting a particular woman or all women, rather it is about equipping, liberating, and exemplifying service in Christ name. Like all of Scripture, it is not merely about what happened then, but how we respond now. Our reading from Paul’s letter to Corinth works along the same lines. If we “catch the fever” of God’s grace, if we live life in amazement, we respond with joyful service. Sunday we will take another step on the journey with Christ. We’ll talk about some of the Greek of this passage, about how the author if Mark structures this Gospel, about what we learn from archeology in Capernaum, and our journey here and now. Wherever you are at on your faith journey, we encourage you to bring your questions, assurances, and hopes to worship this week. You can learn more about what to expect here at First United Methodist at our website: www.firstumcfortscott.org or our see our Facebook page www.facebook.com/firstumcfortscott for the latest updates including any weather cancellations.
Wednesday, February 7, 5:30–6:30pm: Feeding Families in His Name – this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation. A “to-go” meal is distributed under the portico at 301 S. National. A reminder: Please do not block nearby driveways while waiting. Thank you. If you would like to support this ministry, you can make donations online at www.firstumcfortscott.org/onlinegiving
Thursday, February 8th – United Women in Faith will have their first meeting of 2024 on at 1:30pm in the Parlor. Jean Tucker has invited Rob Harrington of REDI to present a program on the proposed STAR district and Rodeo Entertainment project and all women of the church and community are invited!
Wednesday, February 14th – Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day this year. All are welcome as we begin Lent with our 7pm service featuring imposition of ashes and some history on St. Valentine.
Mark Your Calendars! Faith’s Journey Returns! Saturday, March 23rd at 6pm. Join us the Saturday before Holy Week for another great evening of Absolute Country, Definitely Gospel with Faith’s Journey! Branson’s 2021 Gospel Show and Group of the Year will be here for another freewill offering show! If you were here last year, you’ll want to hear them again, and if you missed it here is your chance to see them! Invite your friends and neighbors!