Pressing About Jesus

Friday of the Fourth Week in Epiphany
Mark 1:32-45

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


This is Mark’s version of a typical day in the life of Jesus, beginning in the evening. People from all over crowd about him, longing to be healed. His fame spreads.

Let there arise a longing in your heart to press about Jesus. Remember, the victory over the world is faith. The world wants to control, bind, and have power over others. However, greater than what is pressing against you is Christ who presses about you. Think of this at evening time when you and other families come home. Come close to Jesus at that hour, bringing with you the crowds that are bound in traffic on their way home. Bring them to the Lord for healing, restoration, comfort, and rest.

Jesus finds the night for prayer. Let part of your nights be for that as well; rest itself can become prayer. If you rise in the morning to commute, remember that Jesus too, went on to other towns!


Fridays are dedicated to the Gospels. This year, we read the Gospel of St. Mark, except during Lent and a few other exceptions.


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Faith Is the Victory

Thursday of the Fourth Week in Epiphany
1 John 5:1-12

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


John Wesley, eighteenth century founder of the Methodist movement, said that we have a sixth sense. While today we often hear a sixth sense referred to as “intuition,” John affirmed that this is faith—the capacity to claim as true, realities that escape our five physical senses. Faith is at the heart of the reading for today: “This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

I once had a spiritual director who was a priest and a concert violinist; his name was Cyril Schommer. Later in life, he became blind. He claimed that he could play the violin better than ever, as hearing became more sensitive to compensate for his loss of sight.

So it is with faith. When outer senses recede, the sense of faith has a chance to grow. Though it be only the size of a mustard seed, Jesus said that faith can move mountains (Matthew 17:20).


Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels. During the seasons of Advent to Epiphany this year, we read the three letters of John.


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Tears Remembered

Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Epiphany
Psalm 56

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


Though David overcame Goliath with one shot from his sling, it was not the same for all the enemies that came against David. However, fortunately for him, the first casting that he made was not with his sling, but with his prayer. However much he felt his enemies press against him in so many kinds of ways, so much the more did David’s prayer press against God until the blessings of God’s power were in David’s heart, and only then in his hand.

Are there circumstances that bring you to tears? If God does not let a sparrow fall without God’s knowledge, then neither does one tear run down your cheek without God’s awareness. Consider the image that David uses in verse 8 for this kind of remembrance of God. As the fragments of bread collected after the multiplication of loaves in the Gospel, your tears are gathered together, lest they be lost.


Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms.


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The Gods of This World

Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Epiphany
Judges 17—18

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


The call of the first disciples celebrated this past Sunday contrasts today with the whole tribe of Dan falling into idolatry. There is no leadership, leaving the people infected by the local pagan worship surrounding them. We find this expression here: “Doing your own thing.” Life deteriorates when the value of individualism presses against the values of a whole society, which the Lord intends to lead. When God is not at the center, God either becomes unimportant, or at best, a mascot on the sidelines of life. Competition, consumerism, intrigue, vanity—all the gods of this world will move into the sacred turf of your center, if you let them. Look at the dangers when you are not bound and accountable to the integrating, renewing, recreating Body of Christ. The Dans had no accountability to the rest of the Chosen People. There was no Moses to burn their idols …no Christ to overturn their tables.


Tuesdays are dedicated to Old Testament history and “The Writings.”
In the seasons of Advent to Epiphany this year we read the Book of Judges followed by a few chapters of Proverbs.


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Learning from Pain

Monday of the Fourth Week in Epiphany
Isaiah 48

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


Fire can either destroy or purify. “I have tested you in the furnace of affliction,” says the Lord. God does not send pain our way; the sin of the world and the consequences of our personal sins result in our being afflicted. However, the Lord promises to be there to purify and transform suffering, with outcomes better than ever.

The action of the Lord teaches us how to grow from pain. The Hebrew word for teaching used in verse 17 is lamad. The root of the word is “to goad.” Likely, it comes from the way an animal learns by being prodded. Our sufferings goad us to learn from them, to be transformed by them. One way is to offer your suffering for others who are not doing so well in theirs. Teach others by the example of your enduring faith in the Lord’s fidelity and mercy to God’s people as Isaiah declares today.


Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets
In the seasons of Advent to Epiphany this year, we read Isaiah chapters 40 to 55.

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When You Grow Up

The Fourth Sunday in Epiphany
Mark 1:14-20

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


Not only being with Jesus, but being Jesus to the world—this is the meaning of the call of the first disciples. As they clean up their nets and receive the invitation to cast them over a broken, hurting world, they are to become an extension of Jesus himself.

As you “clean up” after your day of work and prepare for rest, ask the Spirit to deal with you about your life-work. Is there something that needs to change for you? Are you willing to get in touch with the pain of the discomfort that may well up with the words: “I’m just not doing what I really want to do!” Respect those feelings of disquiet; they are the beginning of being open to what the Lord is inviting you to do with your life.

What do you want to be when you grow up…in the Lord?


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from The Revised Common Lectionary.


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