Monday, February 2, 2009

From Jesus to Paul to Walle

Feb 8th, Mark 1:29-39 and perhaps 1 Cor. 9-16

Sometimes with texts like these this week I have to first note the things that bother me or get in the way of hearing the gospel in between the words. So I like Marks story that seems to continue the previous stories attempting to prove that Jesus really is of authority and worth listening to by all. He both wants to be known by the hearers but seemingly wants to keep the Demons quiet about who he really is in this world. I guess that is what bothers me in this text... both the mix message and the whole link to "these demons." What or who are the demons? Are they just metaphores for the evil in our world or do they refer to those people we know are negative and hate all good in this world. Whatever it is that is meant it seems in this story its just a forshadow for things to come. Almost to let us know that there is something else coming in the story that we should keep watching for or in this case keep reading.

However, if we allow this to be a forshadow of things to come, then the basic story is that of another tale in which Jesus touches someone and they are healed. Sounds like a simple message and hardly worth a sermon but perhaps there is more. One could see this as a Jesus healing story and that would be true but it seems that it is also about the fact that as Jesus connects, touches or just meets someone they want to touch, connect or serve others. I think this is the message worth preaching on this week.

However, I saw this sermon in a movie a few weeks back. The movie was WALLe. It was about a robot whose whole job was to clean up after the mess we human beings created on earth. You will have to see the movie but in the end Walle is Jesus. He is the savior for all humanity! However, the way the story and Walle weave in an out of other robot's and people's lives you can see those individuals change. As Walle touches them, talks to them, or sometimes just as they watch Walle interact with others around them these people/robots are changed. They are changed in that they see things and people/robots that they never saw! They are changed because now they want to help others as Walle does for them.

Sure this text from Mark may well be just a little story to prove that Jesus has authority and power but I think it is more. It is about the way he will be our savior and in turn I believe how we should help heal others as well through our connections and relationships with them.

As far as the 1 Cor passage I think there is a link here as well. Paul sometimes seems to like to hear himself talk in nice flowery confusing spiritual language. Im not even sure I would like Paul if I met him and in truth I have met some people like him who seem to be all spiritual in the way they talk to others about everyday things. You know the kind who when you ask them to pass the butter they spend 5 minutes telling you how butter is like God in that it... well you know. However, Paul reveals to the reader that he sees himself as one who has been changed and therefore can do nothing else but pass the change on to others. He expresses this in that he is willing to be anything and go anywhere just to bring the goodnews he experienced to others. He is simply passing on what he has learned to the next generation. Paul was one of those people touched by (even if it was not directly) by Christ and he is now changed to the point that whoever he comes in contact with he changes them for the better. Its a big game of dominoes or like the movie WALLe -- when we experience love and acceptance we simply and wholistically want to pass it on to the next person.

Those are my thoughts on two of our texts for Sunday I hope it helps in your reflections this week.

Bill Spangler-Dunning

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