Holy Fools

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January 14

Holy Fools ~~ Martin B. Copenhaver

Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and failed to hear? From Mark 8:14 – 21

I have always identified with the disciples as they are depicted in Mark's Gospel. Far from holy and wholly together, they are the original "Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight," fumbling and fickle, often missing the point. In fact, the first sermon I preached after I was ordained was on this passage Mark 8:14 – 21, and I picked up on these themes. The sermon was entitled "God's holy fool," which was my description of the original disciples. Unfortunately, I didn't think about how that title would look on the board outside the church: "God's Holy Fool, Martin B Copenhaver, preaching."

In this passage, Jesus is speaking to his disciples after the multiplication of loaves and fishes. They were present when crowds were fed. They had picked up the baskets of scraps that were left over after all their fill. But when Jesus asks them to recall what happened, they simply report the facts: five loaves for five thousand people and twelve baskets of scraps. Jesus had given them a stunning glimpse of God's power and all they could see or remember was a picnic in the sun.

I wouldn't be so dimwitted. I wouldn’t miss a miracle like that. But then I remembered that the word miracle literally means, "a sign that points to God." So, yes, I am still one of God's holy fools, because I am quite sure that I miss miracles – – signs that point to God – – everyday.

PRAYER: Jesus thank you that you love me and cleanly as your own, even when I am being a dimwitted fool. Amen.

 

God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 16.

Just Believe

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January 12

Just Believe ~~ Christina Villa

Then one said, "I will surely return you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son." And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed herself, saying, "after I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?" The Lord said to Abraham, "why did Sarah laugh, and say, "I shall indeed very child, now that I am old?" Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son." From Genesis 18:1-14

Sarah laughs when she hears that she supposedly going to have a baby. She's old lady – – you can practically hear her muttering behind the door, "yeah, right."

So this makes me wonder: how often have you been told that you just have to have faith in order for things to work out? How many motivational speakers and inspirational books boiled down to just this: just believe fiercely enough that something will happen, and… It will happen or it you make it happen: just believe.

But not in this story. Sarah doesn't believe. And it happens anyway. It is, apparently, a miracle. It's hard to believe in miracles, which are examples of the power of God. It's easier to believe in the power of me. Certainly there are plenty of books and speakers telling me to. But the story says that, sometimes, what I believe or don't believe just doesn't matter. The story says that something good can happen even if I don't believe it will. Something great can happen even if I'm convinced it won't. And when it does I can say in all truthfulness, "thank God."

PRAYER: here are my hopes and dreams. Please watch over them. Amen.

God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 13-14.