Fourth Sunday after Epiphany- Week of January 31, 2021
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus to show us how to live in the way of love. Open our hearts to receive this love, and help us share it with other people. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice in the Way of Love is TURN. In this story from the Gospel according to Mark, Jesus’ teaching and healing changes the lives of many people. How have Jesus’ teachings changed you? How might you share this story with other people?
Adult and Small Child
Read: Mark 1:21-28
Reflect: In this story, Jesus does something amazing. He heals someone! Jesus healed people a lot. It is one of the ways that Jesus helped people. I wonder how the man in this story felt after Jesus cast out the demons? How would you feel? How do you think the people in the synagogue felt when they saw Jesus do this? How would you respond?
By healing this man, Jesus showed just how incredible and powerful he is. Jesus changed this man’s life! He also changed the lives of the people who witnessed what happened in the synagogue. They began to tell other people about the incredible things Jesus did. We see this happen a lot in stories from the Bible—people experience healing or another incredible thing, and then they turn around and tell others about what happened. We experience Jesus’ power, too, and we should tell others about it!
Respond: Try acting out
the story together. As you re-tell the story point out the amazing things that
Jesus does in this story! Then, make a list of people who you can tell about Jesus’
- Victoria Hoppes
Adult and Elementary
Read: Mark 1:21-28
Reflect: Have you ever had a big, loud feeling? Something happened and you didn't like it. Your hand made a tight fist. Your face scrunched up. You started to feel hot. And then, the sound came. An angry scream. So big that you felt like a volcano exploding. A scream so loud that others around you put their hands to their ears and wished they could make it go away.
The out-loud scream or the way our body feels or the thoughts going on in our head can make it hard to hear anything else. It's even hard to hear God who tries to helps us react better to our feelings. So, it is helpful to talk to God when it's quieter and calmer—practicing with God how to react when we feel bigger and louder. Some people meditate. They sit in silence and breathe in and out, and pay attention to how their bodies feel. Paying attention to how your body feels in the quieter and calmer moments can help you notice when you aren't feeling quiet and calm anymore. I wonder how you will practice reacting to your big and loud feelings when it's quiet and calm?
Respond: Try these various resources to practice being quiet and calm.
- Rainbow Breath
- Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents)
- Meditation is an Open Sky
- Relaxation Jar
- Patrick Kangrga
Adult and Youth
Read: Mark 1:21-28
Reflect: This lesson takes place in a Capernaum synagogue. You probably know that a synagogue is a center of prayer, teaching, and worship, but it is also a place for community gatherings. Here in this relatively unknown synagogue, in this relatively unknown place, God steps in and changes the way people think through Jesus. Jesus was a nobody at the time and he began to speak with authority. How did he speak with authority? He told an evil spirit what to do, and the evil spirit obeyed. Just like that. In Jesus’ day, evil spirits were considered, even by many Jewish teachers, to be numerous and powerful. They did whatever they could to inflict trouble and suffering. Unlike many other teachers, Jesus didn’t use magic and incantations to try and release the demon. He simply ordered it to leave. Who could have such authority that evil spirits obey him? What we learn here is that Jesus uses his authority in a good way. He doesn’t use it against us. He uses it to serve others. To help others. To serve and not be served and this is how he wants us to use whatever authority we too might have.
Respond: Think about it.
What authority do you have? Are you an older sibling? Is there someone younger
that you mentor? This week, turn, reflect and make a list of people that look
up to you. Think about what authority you have and write about how you can use
it for good to help others.
- Lauren Wainwright
Adult and Adults
Read: Mark 1:21-28
Reflect: One of the most significant things about Jesus’ ministry is how he meets people exactly where they are. If people are hungry, he feeds them, then provides spiritual nourishment. If they are seeking healing from physical illness, he heals them, then he supplies words to heal their souls. In this week’s story of the man tortured by a spirit, he doesn’t go straight to spiritual teachings, even though he is surrounded by religious leaders who are carefully watching him. He addresses the physical need first. And in almost every case, he is healing people whose physical struggles have isolated them, and he returns them to the community. Take some time this week to prayerfully consider where you are, physically and spiritually. Be honest with yourselves and with God about where you most need healing. How might your church community support you in that healing?
Respond: Just as Jesus so often does his healing work in and among people who have been disconnected from community, so too is the church called to reach out to those the world treats the worst. And Jesus cares deeply about their whole selves, not just their spirits. Spend some time this week considering and researching what physical needs are most significant in your neighborhood or town. Discuss with the people directly affected what they need most and how your church community might respond, and don’t be surprised if what they need is reflected in the abundance your church community has to offer. So often, God’s healing work occurs not just through miraculous spontaneous healings, but through the miracle that is human connection and new relationships.
- Jessica Davis