Michael Buffer copyrighted the phrase, Let’s Get Ready to Rumble and in doing so his catchphrase made him a very rich man. He is the undisputed king of boxing ring announcers. When you hear his voice and hear the phrase, you know there is soon to be a confrontation between two opponents in the ring.
The beginning of the Gospel reading today from Mark 1 begins with just such a confrontation. Jesus is in the synagogue teaching and all that hear him are amazed. He is then confronted by a man with an unclean spirit. Jesus rebukes the demon and the unclean spirit leaves the man. This clash at the beginning of the gospel reading leaves us to wonder, what is Mark trying to prepare us for?
God is opposed to anything that prevents us from living the life He intends for us. The barriers that we use to try and keep our distance from God are all broken down. We often find that we never have time for everything we want to do and yet God created time. As we learned through our stewardship emphasis, he gives us 168 hours per week. We choose what to do with those hours and we make time for the things we feel are important. God is opposed to the barriers that keep us from him. God is a God of Abundance, not of scarcity. Why should our own stewardship stand in the way? God doesn’t care what we bring to the table. He cares that we come to the table and that we share in abundance what he has first given us. God opposes anything that stands in the way of our relationship with him.
Relationships are important to God. We too often focus on the differences or barriers that separate us and don’t see each other as one in community. And, yet here we all are in this life together in the world God created. Darwin Day was started by a science teacher who thought that science and religion should not be in conflict with each other. His goal was for people to understand that it is possible to believe that God created everything and that science isn’t the only way of knowing and understanding the complex world in which we live.
God appears in Jesus in the synagogue, teaching as one who had authority, not as the scribes. You would think with all the scribes, the presence of God there would not come as a surprise and yet they were all astounded by Jesus’s teaching. God is not distant from us. He came to us as a helpless baby in a manger, not as a king or powerful ruler. God’s throne is not a plush seat in a palace but a cross. His death on a cross, like a common criminal, could have made him appear weak, but God was raised from his earthly death for the forgiveness of our sins. God continues to come to us even in our own brokenness. Even in the brokenness of the world or the needs of a stranger.
He come to us to transform us. He even comes to us in the bread and the wine of communion. God continues to come to us. It helps to remember that we are all children of God, living in this world together. We can use the disciplines of the PoWeR SuRGe to remind us that we are on this journey together. Pray daily, Worship weekly, Read Scripture, Serve in our community, Relationship building and giving of our time, talent and treasures.
The rumble we hear is the rumble of our lives. It is God’s invitation to come participate in God’s own story. Amen.