“After…” Mark 1:14

“After” the temptation, after Jesus’ cousin John, who baptized Jesus, was put in prison, “Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.”  We are living right now in the “after” and sorting ourselves out.  It is after the election.  It is after the vote of impeachment yesterday.  Today is after announcements about vaccinations.  Today is after the death of someone I knew and I know “after” means grief for the family left behind.  “After” suggests sequence and perhaps cause and relationship.  Our actions do not stand in a void anymore than Jesus’ approach to his ministry.

         “After,” a word I had never focused on before, makes sense of John’s questions in prison.  John sent his disciples to ask Jesus if Jesus was the Messiah, the one prophesied to come.  “After” can trigger doubt that drives action.  After climbing on the scale in the morning, I re-examine my diet plan and what failed and what worked.  My plans for the day are dependent on the outcome of yesterday as well as the desires of my heart.

         Jesus returned to Galilee.  “After” initiated a travel plan for Jesus.  The baptism was at the Jordon, closer to Jerusalem and with John’s imprisonment, Jesus traveled north to less politically dangerous territory.  Some of our plans for today will now involve a “travel plan.”  We need to get food to feed the family.  We need to go to the post office to send a card, or at least an email.  We need to call a friend or someone official.   We make our plans and sometimes those plans involve moving to a less dangerous, less volatile place in life, in mind anyway.  Jesus did.

         Jesus went to Galilee, his home territory in northern Israel.  May I suggest that sometimes I need to move my thoughts to safer memories.  My husband will ask me, “Are you chewing on that bone again?”  My thoughts are trapped in some incident that hurt and I ruminate on it.  Perhaps I need to move to prayer, to confession of my wrong, to journaling, to talk with a friend, or even turn on positive music – anything to stop the downward spiral of doubt and self-criticism.  As I listen to the news and hear about the armed soldiers guarding the capitol for the inauguration, it is possible for fear to immobilize me, for stereotypes of “the other” to fill my mind, and for my thoughts to undermine my sense of security.  Jesus lived in no less volatile and dangerous times.  “After” John was imprisoned, Jesus knew it was time to return to Galilee. Perhaps we too need to refocus today.

         “After” the defining event of yesterday that is impacting your today, let’s take time to center our thoughts on a Savior who understands doubts and danger, who travels with us and with the situation driving us, and who comes to preach the good news of God.  He is with you today.  He cares. And He can meet your challenge with you.  Blessings.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: