Season After Epiphany: February 7

It is the Fifth Sunday in the Season After Epiphany.  Our liturgical color is green.  This time of year was previously called Ordinary Season because we are in between major seasons. This week, the readings are from the prophet, Isaiah, the Apostle Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, and the Gospel of Mark.  In the Gospel, we hear the healing of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law.

Bible Story: Mark 1: 29-39

29-31 Directly on leaving the meeting place, they came to Simon and Andrew’s house, accompanied by James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed, burning up with fever. They told Jesus. He went to her, took her hand, and raised her up. No sooner had the fever left than she was up fixing dinner for them.

32-34 That evening, after the sun was down, they brought sick and evil-afflicted people to him, the whole city lined up at his door! He cured their sick bodies and tormented spirits. Because the demons knew his true identity, he didn’t let them say a word.

The Leper

35-37 While it was still night, way before dawn, he got up and went out to a secluded spot and prayed. Simon and those with him went looking for him. They found him and said, “Everybody’s looking for you.”

38-39 Jesus said, “Let’s go to the rest of the villages so I can preach there also. This is why I’ve come.” He went to their meeting places all through Galilee, preaching and throwing out the demons.

Meditation: We hear the story of Jesus entering Simon Peter’s house and finding his mother-in-law very ill, Jesus heals her.  From Jesus’ care for her, she is able to care for others (serve them).  Simon Peter is one of the most mentioned Apostles in the New Testament.  Simon’s name is changed by Jesus to Peter, the Rock.  Peter eventually becomes the first bishop of the church.  Peter must go through many questions, fears, learning and even doubts before he gets there.  I wonder how much a part his mother-in-law’s healing had to do with Peter’s journey?

The thing that bothered me in the past about this passage, is the woman who was so ill (remember there were no antibiotics, antivirals or fever reducers in those days), gets up and starts serving Jesus and his followers.  She jumps from what may have been her death bed to “maid” service!  But going deeper, we see how Jesus’ healing was so complete, that she is full of energy. She wants to give back for the person who has done so much for her.  Who in your life has done so much for you?

Prayer:   Eternal father, you have filled our lives with people who care for us, people who love us, people who help us and people who teach us.  As we think of those people now, we ask you to bless them.  We thank you for the gift of each one in our lives.  In Jesus Name, we pray.  Amen.

Activities (choose one or more to do during the week.  For links, copy and paste):

  1. Discussion questions- Name the people in your life who help care for you? Who heal you? Who help you? Who teach you?  What is something someone did for you that was unexpected, but made a big difference in your life (day/year/class/family)?  What are some ways you can thank them?
  2. Musical response- Jesus and His Miracles (with cartoon) 
  3. Craft response: Trace your hand print on colored paper and cut it out.  Glue the colored hand print on white paper.  Write “Jesus heals”.  Get two bandages and put them in the shape of a cross on the hand.  In different colors, write or draw some of the blessings God has given you on the white paper or make valentines for others and write on it, “God loves you.”
  4. Outreach/community service response: Police, fireman and paramedics are the first ones to come when we need help.  Is there a way you could thank them?  Make cards and deliver cookies or brownies or find another way to thank your local first responders.
  5.  Activity response: Give the youngsters tape, paper and scissors to make paper-chains. Get the youngsters to construct a paper-chain that links everybody’s wrists together. Talk about how you all came to church because of somebody you are linked to – a family member, a friend, etc. then stand up and try to move without breaking the chain… this probably won’t last long. Say that even though we came to church because of somebody else we are each loved individually by God.
  6.  In-reach response: Your family is filled with people who love you and care for you.  Make them a Valentine and tell them you appreciate all they do for you.
  7.  Game response:  Going through the alphabet, for each letter say a blessing God has given you that starts with that letter.  If you cannot name something or the others decide it is too general (for example: penguins, unless you have a pet penguin), then you are out.  Keep playing until only one person.
  8. Watching the story: