23 April 2008

St. Mark's Day

Will be observed on the 25th, but we transferred its observance to this evening at the Divine Service. Tonight's homily remarked upon the change in Paul - from Mark not joining him and Barnabas on their next missionary journey, no how, now way; to "get Mark and bring him to me, because he is useful to me for the ministry" from St. Paul's final letter. I suspect the change was not in Mark, but in Paul.

Paul, always the whole hogger (Nagelism) and so intolerant of anyone who was less whole hogger than he. And yet Paul changed. I doubt Mark changed that much. But Paul changed. I think living longer with the Crucified and Risen Lord who is the Forgiveness of all sins literally changed the man.

And just as he knew as he faced his own death that he had no righteousness whatsoever but that Man who kept the Law perfectly for him and in his place, so he came to realize that that righteousness is the only righteousness ANYONE ever has. Did a kindness, a tenderness begin to burst through the zeal of the former Pharisee of the Pharisees? Did he, as his own life was on the point of being poured out as an offering to God, reach out in love toward those he had once judged harshly since, after all, they lived from the very same fount of Forgiveness he lived from?

I believe that the extra time with our Lord changed Paul. And I believe it can change us too. And that's a big point of the Eucharist, where He who is our Righteousness, our Forgiveness, gives to us His own self in His body and blood and reminds us that this is our whole Righteousness, and as also for every other member of His body, no matter how much they may disappoint or frustrate us. We all live together only from His mercy who was on the Cross for our sins, whose blood was shed for our forgiveness, and who lives to intercede for us.

5 comments:

Joshua said...

PW, I've always wondered why only Wednesday and Sundays are graced by services in your milieu - why not have daily services? That way, you could celebrate all feasts and commemorations on their actual days.

William Weedon said...

Joshua,

May God grant it someday! But I suspect it will come only by the baby steps of providing more opportunities for the Divine Service during the week.

Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

I wish more LCMS churches had Wednesday or evening services other than Sunday. Once isn't enough for me, especially when I'm away from home, and double-especially when I'm teaching on Sundays. :)

But alas in Grand Junction, no Vespers. I even volunteered to play piano. :)

David Rosenkoetter said...

Pastor Weedon,

Your comments about Paul being the one who changed intrigued me, especially your stating how much time he spent with Jesus. Our Lord certainly works through means. That includes people along with events and circumstances.

The apostle Paul certainly had many interactions with others who also preached the Gospel. It would have been ironic! Paul, one of the clearest proclaimers of the Gospel, receivd some expression of mercy or forgiveness through Mark at some point.

It was not the only time the Lord through His Word reconciled early pillars in the Church to one another. Acts 15, records proceedings at the council of Jerusalem. There, both Peter and Paul each spoke boldly of witnessing the Gospel coming to the Gentiles. They opposed a faction who believed Jews needed to hang onto some of their legalism when converting to Christianity. Through His Word (especially, Amos 9:11-15), the Lord brought the assembly there into concord with each other. (Acts 15:7-18)

Just think, in neither case, did anyone need to compromise doctrine to have unity in the one, true faith! By God's grace, folks repented and were restored.

Once again, in Mark, we see why we give thanks for various saints throughout the year. Our Lord used him as His instrument to speak His Word of forgiveness. The Lord made Mark again useful to Paul just as He graciously gives us in His body to serve each other.

Trusting in His mercy, then, we pray to our Lord in the words of LSB 617: "May God bestow on us His grace and favor That we follow Christ our Savior And live together here in love and union Nor despise this blessed Communion! O Lord, have mercy! Let not Thy good Spirit foresake us; Grant that heav'nly-minded He make us; Give Thy Church, Lord, to see Days of peace and unity: O Lord, have mercy!"

Rev. James Leistico said...

your comments of doubt that "Mark changed that much" need to be qualified. There was definitely a change that happened to Mark sometime after he deserted Paul and Barnabas - and before his re-energized desire to join them on the next journey was met with Barnabas' "Amen" and Paul's "no how, no way." My guess is that he took to heart one of the Lord's many "Fear not / Let not your hearts be troubled" passages.
So, by saying, "I suspect the change was not in Mark, but in Paul," are you referring to the timing of the change, or to the magnitude of the change - that Paul changed more than Mark did?

btw, I couldn't help thinking of this reconciliation between Paul and Mark when I preached on Philemon during Lent. And the more I think about it, the more I realize Paul meant it when he describes apostles and pastors as being entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18) - with this theme marking so many of his epistles (God and us, Jew and Greek, him and Mark, Philemon and Onesimus, Euodia and Syntyche, etc). It just reminds me all the more how much I have to learn about being a pastor as disagreements present themselves and I realize I my uncertainties about how to bring the opposing sides back together.