READ: Mark 9: 14-29


          “Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.”  Galatians 6:10 (Msg)


          It is a rare Sunday that we do not have several visitors at our church. 

Why do they come?  Obviously, some are there because they are guests of our members.  Others might be there as our church is of the same denomination as their home church and they are visiting our area.  But might some come to experience “something” even though they might be unable to explain their quest in words?  Might some be like the father with the epileptic son who came to seek healing for him? 


          When Jesus lived on this earth in a physical body, He spent time among the poor, the widowed, the paralyzed and even those with dreaded diseases.  People with leprosy, for example -- the AIDS patients of ancient times. We in the church, Christ’s body on earth, are likewise called to move toward those who suffer.  We are, after all, God’s means of expressing His love to the world.


          Most commentators suggest that the reason the disciples were unable to heal the epileptic boy was because they lacked faith.  In other words, they either did not see that with Christ anything and everything is possible or that they felt the boy was really not worth their bother.  It is interesting to note the boy was brought to the disciples as a group.   


          What are the present day implications of this account?  Might it be that God sends individuals to our church for healing or comfort; but do they find solace among us?   Do we show concern for their spiritual or physical concerns or do we give them a perfunctory greeting and send them on their way?  Do we really care that they are there?  How do we treat those whom may have been sent by God to us?  Do we welcome them as brothers and sisters or as intruders?  A vital step would seem to be for us to recognize that only as we experience God’s grace as not something we earned or worked for, can we freely offer love with no strings attached to another person in need.  Whom is God sending to you?