Pastor Matthew’s reflections on the 5th Sunday after Epiphany:
What is it to "wait upon the Lord"?
Isaiah describes it as an invigoration, a strengthening , a "rising up" There is an old English word used to describe the moment of conception in a women, "the quickening", this is how the prophet Isaiah describes what it is wait upon the Lord, to serve the Lord, to abide in the service of the Lord...It is to rise up as a winged eagle, to never be weary, tired or faint...pretty awesome don't you think?
And Mark? How does the gospel writer of today's lesson describe "waiting on/serving" the Lord? As the beautiful, simple and life-giving act of preparing food. In the gospel Simon's mother-in law is cured of her fever, the description in the 31st verse is "31He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
He lifted her up, and in turn, she lifted Him up by tending to His physical needs. Much has been made by feminist and post feminist theologians on the fact that the mother-in-law immediately begins to serve and yet this is not the reaction of any of the men who are healed in the Markan account. To pursue this interpretation is to miss the mark (and perhaps the Mark) I think. Jesus brings healing and wholeness to Simon's mother-in-law, He restores her to her rightful, contributing role within the household and wider society, the greatest act of gratitude and adoration she can give is to "serve Him" in the preparation of food and the tenting to His needs as He has tended to hers.
Discipleship is not about the pressing of individual needs and the insistence upon one's individual rights, it is about service of other. Simon's mother-in-law is the perfect teacher in this regard.