Sunday, February 08, 2009

Same as it ever was....

I keep reading all these wonderful sermons drawn from today's Gospel reading:
Mark 1:29-31
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.
But I confess that my reaction to this story is largely negative. I mean...honestly! Couldn't Jesus have given the woman a day off?! She's just had a near-death experience, been healed by the Lord of Creation, and the first thing she does is...do what women always do. Cook. Clean. Wait on people.

I guess we are supposed to believe that she was thrilled beyond belief to be made well, and was happy to return to her life of servitude. Feh, I say. Sometimes REAL service is giving a break to those who do it daily.

Apparently Jesus got that message by the time he told Martha that listening to the word of God was more important than cooking. (Luke 10:38-42) But (if my lectionary calculations are correct), we won't get that story until Sunday, July 20, 2010. In this case, the Good News is a long way off...

UPDATE: And, of course, Elizabeth Kaeton moves beyond the obvious (after I hit "Publish Post"). But I still feel grumpy about the whole thing...

10 comments:

lj said...

I love you, Dox! I've always hated this story for the very same reason. But one of the things I love about Jesus is that he did grow and learn, especially, it seems, from women. Think of the woman he called a dog who teased him into a new way of thinking.

IT said...

Actually, we heard an interesting sermon that referred to this issue this today, suggesting that MiL "got it" that Jesus was healing her and preparing her to survive the loss of Peter, and this was her way of thanking him.

just another duck on the pond said...

*amused smile* [IT: well, that sermon was either some kind of apologetic delivered by a woman or a really creative fella looking forward to a homecooked meal...! don't be mad at me for being flip, i'm really a nice ol' gal]

gotta tellya pilgrim, i have my little ways of getting back...i plan and play the sunday vespers service for a large urban retirement center built by the presbyterians. they have a lovely chapel and services are well attended. the second hymn always follows the scripture reading...so for yesterdays vespers the 2nd hymn was ''labor on''...

Wormwood's Doxy said...

LJ---the story of Jesus and the Canaanite (or Syrophoenician, depending on which Gospel you read) woman is my absolute favorite in the New Testament. If you have never read Real Live Preacher's version of it, you should.

IT---what did you think of that sermon? Did you think it worked? I'm not convince myself...

Duck--that made me laugh and laugh! I wonder how many people in the congo "got" it? Thank God for musicians with a sense of humor!

Magdalene6127 said...

doxy, thanks for the compliment! and... the NT often translates the same word "serve" where women are concerned and "minister" where men are concerned. but the head of the house, whether a man or a woman,would have served the honored guest, so I think in context it's not as bad as it sounds.

BUT I totally agree... it sounds bad.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

You are welcome! :-)

I should have talked to Dear Friend about it---Lord knows I have an excellent resource for original languages, etc.! But this was my Sunday to be with the children, and by the time he preaches 3 times, celebrates a couple, and teaches Sunday School for the adults, he's exhausted and I don't have the heart to "talk shop" with him over the phone...

He had the good sense to preach on the Isaiah passage. ;-)

Cheers,
Doxy

IT said...

It wasn't the main point of the sermon, not by any means, just a possiblity in passing. Delivered by a woman priest, and certainly not as an apologetic, but with a wry understanding of the modern social context that "get up and serve us, old lady!" might have....

Jane R said...

I haven't finished fixing my sermon (it was 70 percent written and the rest extemp) but will post it. Meanwhile, have a look at the article on the Gospel of Mark in the Women's Biblical Commentary. Or just wait for my homily. It's not what it appears to be -- the Greek verb used for "serving" is the same used for the "ministering" that the angels did to Jesus in the desert a few episodes before, and this verb is diakoneo, which gave us our word "deacon."

Jane R said...

Oops, Mags said that already! Sorry.

Lindy said...

Well, that is the 21st century version. But I tink that in the olden days the head of the household did the serving whenever company was over. Hospitality is still a big deal in some parts of the world. Here in the US, not so much.

The thing I can't get over in last week's readings is that being all things to all people bit. I am still a little bugged by that.