Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. – Mark 6:45-56
I got up this morning, made coffee, ate breakfast, gathered my wits about me, and sat down for an all-day ZOOM meeting. Diane and I are team members for the PLI Nashville Cohort of Leadership Essentials. As in many endeavors, there is much unremarkable things that go into these events. Connecting the computer, finding your teaching notes. One last look at the PowerPoint slides in preparation for our time together.
But then the people arrive. The appear on screen as if by magic. One right after the other. Smiles ensue. Greetings are shared. Did I mention that prior to our meeting the team met and prayed for each participant by name? Did I mention that we have a very clear path that has been laid out for us? Did I mention that we are teaching people how to lead others in the mission of God? Did I mention that amidst all the tedium (I hesitate to call it that though), there are profound things at play?
The day went really well. Those charged with teaching segments provided insights and offered participants opportunities to reflect personally and to process those insights together in ZOOM breakout rooms. And once in a while we could see the light bulbs go on. People’s faces would light up. A comment in the breakout room would indicate that God had worked in their minds and hearts. Courage was born. Clarity poked through the fog. Confidence grew. Capabilities showed up. Things became anything but mundane or tedious!
After the wild encounter with Jesus on the sea, the boat is brought to shore and moored. The disciples and Jesus head off for villages, cities, and the countryside. And the people begin to show up. It seems clear that this is not a trickle of people. This is not a managed ZOOM meeting.
This isn’t just a one or two day conference. This seems to be the case for a period of time. “Wherever,” Mark tells us, Jesus went there were people. They clamored for his attention. They sought his healing touch. They elbowed their way to touch even the fringe of Jesus’ garment. And they were healed.
Who knows what mundane thing will give way to the touch of Jesus’ grace? When and where will we see him changing people’s lives? Where will people posture to see Jesus and experience his healing? Sadly, we don’t see that happening too often today. We’re a falsely-sated lot. We don’t see the need.
But there are those who are seeking to find people who need Jesus and are open to his message and favor. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to connect with them today (Thursday). As I write this (Thursday evening) I look forward to doing so again tomorrow. Can’t wait to see what Jesus does next!