The first chapter of the gospel of Mark shows the expanding circle of God’s healing power as Jesus’ miracles grow larger and more public with each act. In the reading for this Sunday we hear first that Jesus heals Simon’s mother in law, then all in the nearby vicinity that who needed healing. By morning the whole village has shown up looking for more miracles, but Jesus is moving on.
My favorite poet, Walt Whitman, issues this invitation in his famous “Song of the Open Road”:
“Allons! we must not stop here! However sweet these laid-up stores—however convenient this dwelling, we cannot remain here; However shelter’d this port, and however calm these waters, we must not anchor here; However welcome the hospitality that surrounds us, we are permitted to receive it but a little while.”
Why does Jesus decide to take his disciples on to neighboring towns when there were still people near Simon’s hometown that needed the healing Jesus had to give? Perhaps it is because Jesus’ healing and Jesus’ were wrapped up in each other. Those who had received what Jesus had to offer were left as a living sign and as powerful agents of God’s healing power.
How often the same is true for us. The ones who heal us move in and out of our lives, as we move in and out of each other’s lives. We are healed to be healers – not in any one place, but wherever the Spirit leads us.
“The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8