The bishop’s message during our closing worship focused on Mark 1:14-20
, which details the arrest of John the Baptist and Jesus serving as an agent of hope in the aftermath of what must have been an uncertain time for God’s people. The scripture talks of Jesus acknowledging that people in a broken world – people living under and shaken by oppression, uncertainty and apathy – needed to change their lives and believe that God was their source of hope (Psalm 62:5
). In Mark, we read of the calling of Peter and Andrew as well as James and John. These four men left all that they knew to pursue and proclaim the hope that Jesus offered.
Today’s world is in similar turmoil and arrest. People are arrested with uncertainty about the future. They are arrested with paranoia, fear and remain paralyzed to act. They are arrested by lack of hope.
But believers from the Great Plains Conference and beyond are the messengers of hope. As Jesus said, “Time’s up!” It is time for us to stop worrying about ourselves and instead reach out and free people in the communities we serve who are under arrest by unclean spirits of paranoia, fear and uncertainties. God’s message of hope frees people to move beyond their insecurities to step forward into new possibilities for the future.
In his sermon, the bishop points out that this message of hope is not meant just for the people reading it in Mark’s time. “It is a message for our time,” Bishop Saenz said.
Please consider watching the sermon again to draw inspiration. As the bishop suggested, please “wrestle with the text.” Please share the bishop’s sermon with the laity in your church who must rise up and help share this incredible message of hope with people who desperately need to hear it in your mission field.