From the Pastor – A Question of Identity

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

We continue our journey through Mark’s Gospel this Sunday focused on two stories in Mark 4:35-5:20. In the first story Jesus and his disciples are caught up in a storm as they cross the Sea of Galilee.  As the storm was raging, Jesus was asleep in the stern.  The disciples woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care we are perishing?”  After Jesus quieted the Storm, we are told that the disciples were terrified and asked one another, “Who is this?  Even the winds and the waves obey him?”

In the second story Jesus encounters a man who is known as the “Gerasene demoniac.”  The man’s condition had become so bad that he lived as a wild animal among the dead.  He could not be restrained even with chains.  After a verbal exchange with the demons, Jesus heals the man and restores him to his right mind.  When the people saw what had happened, that the man had been healed, we are told they were afraid.  They beg Jesus to leave their region.

At the center of both stories is fear.  We often think doubt is the opposite of faith.  But in these stories as well as the ones that follow in Mark’s Gospel, the opposite of faith is not doubt, but fear.  If fear is the opposite of faith, how do we believe?

Perhaps one way forward is to remember our name.  In the story of the Gerasene Demoniac, Jesus asks him a simple, but profound question, “What is your name?”  Perhaps in moments of fear we would do well to remember Jesus’ question, “What is your name?”  Perhaps we would do even better to remember God’s answer to that question for each one of us because ultimately the question “What is your name?” is a question about identity, about who we are and whose we are.

See you on Zoom on Sunday!

Pastor David

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