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Posts Tagged ‘gentile mission’

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Reflection Questions

  1.  The Prophet Isaiah is with the community of Israel as it endures exile in the foreign land of Babylon. No temple. No liturgy. God is experienced as ‘silent’. In their difficulty Isaiah reveals the hope of God rescuing his people through a promised ‘Messiah’ – anointed one – who will ‘come to save you.’ Have you experienced the ‘silence’ of God? Isaiah teaches God seeks complete restoration and wholeness: imagine blind people now seeing. Deaf hearing. Crippled leaping. Silent singing. Desert now flowing. Do you consider yourself as an agent of God’s hope for a broken world?
  2. James demands concrete behaviour and action. It is not enough to know and say we care for the poor. We must show it. James highlights the christian Assembly. As we gather for worship we reveal our truth to the world: equality as brothers and sisters in Jesus. Gold rings or shabby clothing is irrelevant. Have you ‘made distinctions’ amongst friends, extended family? Do you ‘change’ when you are in the company of different people? Are you in relationship and friendship with the ‘poor’? Would they experience you as kind but still instructing them to ‘stand there’ or ‘sit at your feet’?
  3. An early document called ‘Statutes of the Apostles’ charged the priests with making a seat available for a poor person arriving at Church, but he did not have to go out of his way for a rich person. Why? Can you see how our liturgical gathering is to mirror the world we seek to create.
  4. Mark uses the same greek word from Isaiah to show that Jesus is the promised Messiah who helps the mute speak – healing his speech impediment. Today theology and geography connect. Jesus intentionally travels back to Galilee but by a very long and unusual route stepping into ‘gentile – unclean’ territory. Not only would the Pharisees and those spying on him now not follow him, but like a bull-dozer, he shows by his actions he will not live by the ‘clean’ ‘unclean’ categories that label people as distant from God. Have your words of concern for the poor been transformed into practical action? What boundaries could you ‘step over’ to welcome in those who feel distant from God?
  5. Healing passages are powerful opportunities for healing in our own lives. Consider the ‘deaf man’. He was lucky to have some friends. Normally illness or disease was considered the result of sin, the presence of an evil spirit. The person was shunned, isolated from family, considered ‘unclean’. In addition this man could not hear or speak. A picture of the most painful experience of human life and our broken humanity. As you reflect on this passage do you identify with the deaf and mute man or the carers who ‘brought him to Jesus’? Why?
  6. Jesus took the man ‘off by himself, away from the crowd’. Saving him from embarrassment, and tenderly healing the parts of his wounded body. What parts of your life need to ‘be opened’ so that you may be whole, reunited and accepted with the community. What would it mean for you to be led ‘away from the crowds for healing’. How could you take up this offer this week? What would it take for you to hear God. Sing God’s praises. Dance for joy?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?