Finding True Worshipers in Mark: Part 2

Last newsletter, we noted Mark's use of couplings in his gospel, seeming to emphasize an aspect of one event to draw out an illustration or illumination of the other. We then began to discuss the two stories in Mark in which people fell down in worship before Jesus (especially as Mark uses the Greek term, "proskuneo,"): the demoniac in Mark 5 and the Roman cohort in Mark 15. (For a refresher of last month's devotional, click HERE)

Several parallels exist between the two stories, beyond just the use of the term translated "fall down in worship." We find both entities - the demoniac and the Roman cohort - in positions of power: the demoniac possessing both spiritual and physical power, and the cohort possessing political and military power. Both entities address Jesus in reverential terms: "Jesus, Son of the Most High God" (Mark 5) and “Hail, King of the Jews!” (Mark 15). In the story of the demoniac, the demon(s) is called "legion," a term for a large Roman military unit; while Mark 15, it is an entire Roman cohort which comes to "worship" Jesus.  In both, Mark addresses the clothing being worn (or not worn), seemingly, to indicate a changing state of each (the demoniac is clothed after being naked [Mark 5] and Jesus is disrobed, clothed in mock royal attire, and then re-clothed in his own garments [Mark 15]). And, In Mark 5, the demoniac comes from living in the cemetery - a place of bones, while in Mark 15, Jesus is subsequently sent to Golgotha - the place of the skull.

So, what do we take from these parallels? What relationship does a demoniac in the Decapolis have with a Roman cohort in Jerusalem? By comparing two very dissimilar pictures surrounding "proskuneo," (fall down in worship) Mark is here, perhaps, trying to provide a very important picture concerning the nature of worship.

The Roman cohort, large in number, full of military power, comes to mock-worship Jesus. They bring the trappings of kingship and worship: a purple robe and a crown. They offer bodily positions of worship: kneeling and bowing before him. They even offer the words of worship: "Hail, King of the Jews!" But, every offering is tainted with mockery: their crown is crafted to cause pain, their exaltation contains spitting, and their bowing down is mixed with beatings. And, afterwards, they remove the trappings, clothe Jesus back in his original garments, and lead him off to the place of the skull.

The whole affair reeks with insincerity, because, of course, their motive was never worship. Their motive was purely mockery.

The demoniac, on the other hand, comes in desperation, with neither pretense nor defense. His "worship" contains no fancy robe or crown; it also holds no insults or degradation. His bowing down bears no bruises but his own. The pronouncement of praise from his "legion" of demons is sincere and frightful for it is fully aware of Jesus' power. In every way, the demoniac comes bearing nothing before Christ - only the realization that Jesus has the power to heal him body, mind, and soul. 

We are given a similar disjointed picture of the results of each encounter. The demoniac, once thoroughly consumed by evil and its effects, is "sitting down, clothed, and in his right mind;" a body formerly in turmoil, we find at peace. A man shamefully naked, we now see clothed. A mind once destroyed by chaos, we find made right. However, in Mark 15, the tables are reversed: It is not the Roman cohort that bears the immediate weight of their own mocking worship, it is Jesus who is clothed in disgrace and crowned with dishonor. Through the cohort's mockery, Jesus becomes the beaten, the shamed, and the condemned.  Further, while the demoniac, through Jesus' healing power, is taken from the graves and brought into honorable society, it is Jesus, ushered in by the mock-worship, who is transferred from honorable society to the place of the skull.

We find, thus, the same is true in our own lives. When our hearts are un-submissive and insincere, no matter how many of the worshipful trappings we bring, our worship will always be, ultimately, a mockery of who Christ actually is. If we do not allow Jesus to truly be Messiah and Lord, we are merely clothing him in royal purple and thorny crown, heaping what amounts to sarcasm and spit on a bruised and beaten Savior, destined for a cross.

However, when we come sincerely, submissively, and stripped of all defenses, prostrating ourselves at the feet of Jesus, though we may possess a thousand demons, the healing power of Christ will be unleashed in our lives. Although we come with nothing of value to offer Christ, amidst true worship, we will find ourselves at peace ("sitting down"), dignified ("clothed"), and clear-thinking ("in his right mind") - in the exact position to offer dedicated witness for our Lord, just as the healed demoniac did.

Mark, thus, challenges his readers:  How will we choose to worship? Will we clothe our Lord in pious platitudes and offer up the praise of hypocrisy or will we recognize our own naked helplessness and allow Christ to clothe us in his honor and purpose?

To this aim, we pray that our worship would be pleasing and acceptable in His sight. May it be characterized, in all its forms, by vulnerability without pretense, seeking only complete healing in and submission to the person of Jesus.

Your SoCal district administration

 

Fresh Start

February 25th, we will be hosting the 2017 spring Fresh Start at The Bridge Church in Bloomington. The Cost is $12 and includes times of worship, numerous workshops, and lunch (we are asking each church to pay registration for their attending members). Please mark your calendars accordingly!

Our keynote speaker this year will be Rev. Scott Daniels, former lead pastor of Pasadena First Church and current Lead pastor at Nampa College Church of the Nazarene. We are excited about how God will use this time to energize His church and equip His leaders for service. Hope to see you there!

 

Teen Bible Quizzing

Please note this year’s quizzing competition schedule (many locations are TBD) 

  • Nov 12, Luke 1-10, District Quiz
  • Dec 3, Luke 1-12 (material estimate), Grizzly Tournament @ Fresno area
  • Jan 14, Luke 1-16, District Quiz
  • Feb 11, Luke 1-20, District Quiz
  • Mar 18 (date estimate), Luke 1-24, Prescott Tournament @ Prescott AZ
  • Apr 8, Luke 1-24, District Finals @ Mission Church
  • May 26-29, Luke 1-24, Elev8 @ PLNU

For more information, contact District Teen Quiz Director, Jerry Goodwin (jerrygoodwin@wildblue.net).

 

Children's Quizzing Calendar: 2016-17

  • Invitational Quiz: December 3 @ Las Flores
  • Invitational Quiz: January 28 @ Gateway Murrieta
  • Invitational Quiz: March 11 @ TBD
  • District Quiz: April 8 @ Mission
  • Regional Quiz: May 2017 @PLNU (for those who qualify)
  • World Quiz: June 2017

For more information, contact Karisa May

 

Local Missionary Presidents

We are asking all local NMI presidents (Missionary presidents) to email Darla Bridges (SoCal District LINKS Secretary) at socallinks@outlook.com. She's needing a more complete list in order to get out appropriate information to all applicable parties. Additionally, pastors - please make sure that your local NMI president has access to this information and Darla's email.

 

2016 Haiti Work & Witness Trips

Hurricane Matthew has recently spread death and destruction across Haiti, an already chaotic and needy country. This makes our November Haiti Work and Witness especially meaningful to our Haitian brothers and sisters. Please continue to be in prayer for the work being done by our SoCal district representatives, that God might work, both in the lives the Haitian church they will be serving and in the hearts of those going to serve.

 

Thanksgiving - Christmas Outreach

Unfortunately, children around the world often do not have the supplies needed for school. In countries with economic challenges, families cannot afford to purchase supplies, or siblings are often required to share the supplies. School Pal-Paks provide students in Nazarene primary schools with the supplies they need to facilitate learning, such as pencils, scissors, etc.

Can youth and children participate? Since children and youth identify with the need for school supplies, School Pal-Paks is a great way to involve children and youth in missions. Of course, adults can participate in Pal-Paks, too!

For more information about how your Sunday School class can help, please contact http://nmi.nazarene.org/10098/story.html

 

Youth In Mission

Youth in Mission has some exciting mission opportunities for young adults (18-25yrs) in 12 locations across the region for June-July 2017: 

 

What is YiM? An initiative of the USA/Canada Region Church of the Nazarene whose mission is to engage young adults in the mission of Christ through the community of the Church in the diversity of Culture. Learn more at: www.youthinmission.org 

 

Could you help get the word out locally? Especially to those young adults going to community or state colleges and universities. Maybe they are doing something else in life? (Nazarene school students are always welcome to apply) Let them know there is a mission option for them!  

 

Know anyone you’d like to recommend? E-mail yim@nazarene.org

 

 

 

Youth Worker Day

On Friday, March 17th, (9 AM to 1:30 PM), Point Loma's Center for Pastoral Leadership (CPL) will be hosting a Youth Worker Day. Please join us for a chapel service, interview, and luncheon with Doug Fields as well as a time of fellowship with youth workers from throughout California. This is a free event but the CPL needs an RSVP at HERE as soon as possible. (Please see the attachment for more information)

 

 

Women's Retreat

Ladies, registration for the spring 2017 Women's Retreat has officially begun. Taking place March 17-19 at the S.D. Town and Country Resort, 2017 women's retreat will host Olivia Metcalf (chaplain @ Northwest Naz. Univ.) as its key speaker.

For more info on registration, dates, times, or event particulars, please click HERE or go to socalnaz.org under Ministries (Adult). 

 

SoCal Round-Up

May 19-21, 2017 we will hold our annual SoCal Roundup at Indian Hills Camp in Jamal, CA. We rent the entire campground for the weekend and have a great time swimming, hiking, doing derby car races, zip-lining, obstacle course racing and engaging in wonderful times of praise and worship.  Contact Janet Crow now if your church is interested in doing "Family Camp" at this event.  A tour of the site can be arranged to help with your planning!  Janet's e-mail is janetloma@cox.net

 

Monthly Reportiing

*Knock knock*

.....   ....Who's there?

Monthly

....Monthly who?

Monthly church statistics

              .....no thanks, we already have some

 

        Exactly.

 Remember, you can click on "Monthly Reports" under "Reports" on the district website or just click HERE

 

 

 

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