Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany – Feb. 4th

Psalm 147:1-11; Isaiah 40:21-31; 1st Corinthians 9:16-27: Mark 1:29-39.

“Praise the Lord!” Please read psalm 147 in praising our God. Vs#1-11.

Children’s chat: Boasting for the Lord Jesus.

Grace, mercy and peace in Jesus name. Children, do you know what Jesus is doing for you? He is making sure that you have everything you need for your body, soul and spirit. What do you think you need from Jesus? He gives you all that you have. Let us thank Jesus by singing Jesus loves me.

Adult Sermon: Prayer affect and Effect.

“And He went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.” (Mark 1:39).

Dearly beloved in Christ, we struggle with the fact that with a word or touch, Jesus can heal; yet, as much as we may pray and touch and anoint a loved one, they often do not become well and restored to society. They die. We may cry out, “Jesus, you healed with a touch, why can’t you do the same through me now?” If these stories are indications that the Kingdom of God has come near, can we still believe that it is near when such miracles do not happen?

Faith question: Are we a people lost from the healing and curing of Jesus?

Please consider, that many of us can remember being children and having nightmares of being separated from our parents.  I can still remember such a nightmare that I had repeatedly.  It was so terrifying that even in remembering it after many years it seems to be happening again.  Thunder and lightning would arrive during the dark of night and the whole house would quake and light up in the storm. I would run to my parent’s room and knock but the door was locked and never opened to settle my fears. There was a large crucifix in our living room which my Father latter donated to a church. When the thunder and lightning shown in the room, I was in terror. Can you remember a similar dream?  As children most of us have feared being alone.

I can remember one day that Betsy went with her grandparents Psybyski to a flea market/ antique show in Connecticut. Betsy’s grandparent Psybyski became distracted by one item that they sought to buy and Betsy wandered off in the crowd. Betsy was about three years old- a toddler!  Lost and alone it is hard to be at peace.

But there are other ways of being lost. Some are lost in war, body, soul and spirit. Others are lost in peace time through addiction, unemployment and divorce.  At times, parents come to see me and talks about how difficult it is to talk with their children. Many times, at college, freshman students get lost within their wants to live life, perhaps for the first time, on their own terms.

In talking to your High school or college age children, have you as parents ever felt life saying, “When it comes to knowing what to say to him/her — I’m lost!”  Other times, someone may tell you that she has been offered two jobs and does not know which offer to accept.  She’s says, “It is overwhelming and I’m lost!”

Sometimes being lost is a matter is being in the middle of a crisis.  Sometimes being lost is just a matter of trying to live life a day at a time.  Struggling with medical protocols and procedures, medications and therapies can overwhelm us… and we are lost… it seems like an eternity awaiting a cure and painless life. Are we a people lost from the healing and curing of Jesus?

Saints, this morning you may feel lost.  Maybe it is about how to talk with your daughter, maybe it is about a job you have been offered.  Whatever it is about, hear the words of our scriptures. Hear Isaiah’s prophesy…spoken to a people living in exile.  These people were displaced, separated from their home, and in many cases separated from their families. Isaiah reminds the exiles that their true home is in the presence of the one who created them through love and sustains them through love. In Isaiah 40:26 he reminds those folks who seem to be lost” …not one is missing.” In the eyes of the powerful creator who brought you into being you are not lost, nor will you be lost. The beautiful message from Isaiah ends with a beautiful word of hope.  It is one of the most quoted passages in the Bible.  These are truly words of renewal.  Indeed, they are words of salvation. Isaiah 40:31.

With our hopes renewed let us look at our gospel lesson:  Mark 1:29-39.  During most of this year we will be following Mark, the first of the gospels to be written.  This lesson takes place at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.  He went to Capernaum.  This town was to become his home.  This was the home of Simon Peter.  When Jesus arrived, things began to happen.  Word of Jesus’ authority spread quickly. In this short passage of scripture, we are told of many miracles.  Simon Peter’s mother-in-law is sick, and Jesus heals her.  Then people brought to Jesus people who were sick and people who were possessed of demons.  Mark tells us that the whole city gathered at Simon Peter’s house to hear Jesus, to see Jesus, and to be touched and healed by Jesus.  This continued throughout the evening.

Early the next morning Jesus went to a deserted place to pray.  Simon and his friends went looking for Jesus.  They found him and told him that many more people were searching for him.  Jesus answered that they needed to go to the surrounding towns — this was all what Jesus had come for.  So, they went, the word continued to spread, and the healing and casting out of demons continued. And so it continues today.  You and I and countless others like us who are lost hear the word that Jesus loves us. And that word brings healing and wholeness to us.  We discover that we are not lost after all.  The one whom God has sent has found us… just as we are. We are not missing from His care: we are not missing from His healing presence. We are not beyond His cure. But just as Jesus did not heal and cure all that looked upon Him, He has come to let us know that even though we are feeling lost, that in Him alone we have found a savior. Jesus will never deny you; will never reject you or leave you abandoned and without hope. He has come to strengthen our spirits, fortify our souls with hope and raise our bodies to become perfected through His Holy Sacrifice upon the cross of Calvary. Jesus is for the lost who seek to find love, life and light in their darkness.  Are we a people lost from the healing and curing of Jesus? By no means!

Let us pray: Thank you, Jesus for finding us when we are lost. In Jesus name, Amen.

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