Mark 1:21-45 Jesus heals a man with an unclean spirit, Peter’s mother-in-law, and a leper.
Jesus gets up very early and goes out alone to find a quiet place to pray – his way to restore his soul. The disciples cannot find him but when they finally do, they say, “Everyone is searching for you.” In our fast-paced society, what is it that we searching for? How do we find it? Is it Jesus? Why church? Because church is restoration.
Call to Worship
L: Come and listen to the Holy One of God.
C: The One who astounds and amazes!
L: Come and gather with the Healing One.
C: The One who lifts us up!
L: Come and search for the Praying One.
C: The One who restores our souls!
Prayer of the Day
We are searching for you Jesus, in all the low and deserted places of our lives. Pray for us, heal us and restore us – for our souls need you. Then teach us your amazing ways, so that we too may pray, heal and restore in your holy name. Amen.
• Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness- ELW #843
• God Whose Almighty Word- ELW #673
• Praise, My Soul, the God of Heaven- ELW #864
• Healing is in Your Hands- Tomlin, Nockels, et.al.
• You Are the Light- Steve Fee
• Great Are You Lord- Leonard, Ingram, and Jordan (All Sons and Daughters)
Narrator: They went to Capernaum; and when the Sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out,
Man with Unclean Spirit: “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”
Narrator: But Jesus rebuked him, saying,
Jesus: “Be silent, and come out of him!”
Narrator: And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another,
Disciples/ Group of People: “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”
Narrator: At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee. As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him,
Disciples/ Group of People: “Everyone is searching for you.”
Narrator: He answered,
Jesus: “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.”
Narrator: And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons. A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him,
Leper: “If you choose, you can make me clean.”
Narrator: Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him,
Jesus: “I do choose. Be made clean!”
Narrator: Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him,
Jesus: “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
Narrator: But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.
In a world that likes to point fingers, identify flaws, and often distances itself from those in need of healing, the church at its best provides sanctuary and offers restoration.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the verb “restore” as to bring back to or put back something to a former or original state (Restore, n.d.). The promise of restoration, “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 30:17, New International Version), is a repeated theme throughout the Bible, offering hope when all else seems to contradict it. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is filled with rich images of healing and restoration—it is a consistent and persistent theme in both the Old and New Testaments. This theme of restoration provides a foundation for correctly understanding sin and suffering, God’s plan for creation, and the unstoppable quest to save all people and restore them to the image of God…
Conclusion: The Biblical perspective of health and wellness is a message about the Master Restorer working relentlessly to make [people] whole and restore [them]—not just spiritually, but emotionally, mentally, and physically. Mankind is invited to participate in God’s work of restoration by choosing life (Deuteronomy 30:19) and cooperating with God who provides everything needed for life and godliness (Exodus 15:26; 2 Peter 1:3). Furthermore, this message of restoration is to be shared. “[Church is at its best] when it teaches others how to preserve and to recover health … and should point them to the one who alone can restore.” (White, 1923, p. 31)
Invite the kids to come forward. I have a question for you: Have you ever broken a bone? Did it hurt? Did it take a long time to heal? Who helped to make it heal?
Ask about other kinds of injuries or illnesses to involve others in the discussion.
Who are the kinds of people who help us to get better when we are hurt? (moms, dads, grandparents, brothers, sisters, doctors, nurses, friends, teachers)
Those are great people to turn to when you are hurt. Do you ever think about praying when you are hurt? What do you/should we pray for? Let’s do that now… Pray incorporating what the kids have said.
For reference: Spark Story Bible p. 254-57
Three Kings Day
This Sunday is often called Epiphany or Three Kings Day, the day where we traditionally recognize the wise men arriving with gifts for Baby Jesus. While we don’t have this story in the Narrative Lectionary this year (Matthew 2:1-12), your congregation may want to explore it as an intergenerational event.