When Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. – Matthew 8:14-15
The Rev. Karoline Lewis, professor at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, helps us imagine this is as a ‘call to ministry’ story.
I imagine that ever since this story was published, many women haven’t wanted to hear the story of a woman sick in bed who is healed — so that she can feed the guests!
“This story gets used against women, to subjugate women, to oppress women — and often quite personally. This is our role, after all — serving. Pouring coffee, making sandwiches, coordinating potlucks. Women have no place in the pulpit, or behind a podium teaching seminary students, as it turns out. No matter how much we rally, no matter how much we call upon our allies, no matter how much we march, it still hurts. And in too many pulpits outside of our own, this story of Simon’s mother-in-law will be used to keep down even more women, to perpetuate positions that argue for the proper place women belong, to validate complementarianism…
This different story is so difficult to see because too many cannot believe that a straight-forward healing story could actually be a call story, a discipleship story — and the story of Simon’s mother-in-law is her call to discipleship story. Too often Jesus’ restoration of those he meets, those he seeks to heal and to save, is reduced to a one-sided narration of justification for Jesus’ divinity or an equally one-sided account of our anticipated response.
Yet, Jesus doesn’t heal just to heal, or just to prove himself, or just to confirm God’s activity in the world.
Jesus heals for the sake of, because of, and assuming that the Kingdom of God is here — and that we are a part of it, that we have a role in it, and Jesus needs us.
And as it turns out, and what Simon’s mother-in-law reveals, is that this role looks an awful lot like how Jesus himself will describe his own ministry, his own power, and his own presence, “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
In the name of God who prepares Tables,
Pastor Bonnie Wilcox
P.S. If you have not read the First Lutheran March 26 Update, you may read it: March 26 FLC Covid19 Update
Music for today, two doctors at Mayo Clinic in Rochester this week recorded, “Imagine” by John Lennon: listen
Students from Spring Lake Park High School, including Andrew Kaliher, have had to postpone their production of Seussical this spring. They released their recording of “Alone in the Universe,” HERE
* Wash Your Hands
* Practice Social Distancing
* Stay at Home, within the guidelines issues by Gov. Walz
* Pray without ceasing!
Our Community Meal is available by curbside pickup on Sunday, March
29, from 11 AM to 12 PM.
Pastors Jill Bergman and Bonnie Wilcox will be available to pray and/or chat with you from your car window at a safe distance.
Sunday’s Menu: Roast Pork Dinner