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Seeking a Sign

We have a game in our family which we play during long journeys in the car. Perhaps you have played a version of it. We call it the ABC game. The object of the game is to call out words from signs along the road which begin with each letter of the alphabet, starting with a word beginning with A and ending with Z. The first person to go through the whole alphabet wins.
When one gets hard up looking for a word, for example—a word beginning with the letter Q, it is tempting to pray and ask God for a sign with a Q word on it. But of course finding the signs you want in order to win a game is not as important as obeying signs that tell you how fast to drive, when to stop or yield, or where to get off the interstate.
The same thing is true in everyday life. There are signs which are essential to follow and then there are signs which are nice if they come along, but that’s about it.
In our text for today we will see the Pharisees asking Jesus for a sign. See what you think: are they asking Jesu…

Jesus' Compassion & Challenge

Have you ever been to a 3-D movie? We went to see one in Disneyland a number of years ago. It looked like objects were flying right at us. They even had a special effect that made it feel like something was crawling up our legs.

Of course the key to experiencing a 3-D movie properly is that you have to wear the right glasses. If you don’t wear those funky paper glasses they give you before the movie, the ones with one red eye-glass and one blue eye-glass, everything looks wrong and you can’t even figure out what’s going on in the movie.

The same holds true when we approach the Bible. If we want to see correctly what it is saying, we have to be wearing the right spectacles. For example, in order to understand Mark 8:1-10 which we are going to read this morning, we have to put on our first century Palestinian spectacles.

In order for you to see the difference, between wearing the proper spectacles and not wearing them, let me first read to you from Mark 8. Then we’ll put on our spectacles …

Be Open

Leaking and leakers have been hot topics in our current U.S. administration, more so I think than they have been for a long time. However, this sort of thing goes on all the time in politics. Reputations are made and broken sometimes with one careless remark that gets out to the media. Then of course there are calculated leaks, as we saw in the case of former FBI Director James Comey earlier this year. Such leaks are sometimes designed to destabilize political opponents.
Jesus was a leader who was concerned about leaks. There were some things, like his identity, that he wanted to keep secret until just the right moment. New Testament scholars often refer to this as the Marcan Secret. Yet here, as elsewhere in Mark’s Gospel, we do not simply see the good news about Jesus leaking out. Rather, it is pouring out, as people find themselves unable to be silent about what Jesus is saying and doing.
Let us read together Mark 7:31-37 and see what God might have to say to us through this story….
T…