Amy Jones,
Agape Coordinator
Dear God, we come to worship you today. 
We come to pray, and listen.
You always hear us. 
Help us to hear you. Amen
Mark 6:1-6

1He left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. 2On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” 5And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6And he was amazed at their unbelief.
When I was a young girl my mom was the dental hygienist at our county health department (back when health departments included things like dental health for children). She worked exclusively with children, providing cleanings and x-rays for children under 12. 

I had visited her work plenty of times but not once did she ever clean my teeth. We always saw a dentist in another town. People joked all the time that she must save so much money on dental cleanings because she could just clean our teeth herself. “No way,” she said. “No one listens to their mother when she tells them to brush their teeth.” It’s true. Not only were we much better behaved for our dentist, we also took him seriously when he told us to brush or floss more. 

The rejection of Jesus by his hometown neighbors is such a beautiful reminder that Jesus was really human. His friends and neighbors had a hard time reconciling Jesus’s teachings with the Jesus they knew once as a baby or goofy toddler or as an awkward tween or rebellious teenager, as a tradesman and family guy. 

In my daily work, we are reminded to avoid “dual relationships.” These are relationships where people have multiple roles. My mother knew she could be my mom or my dental hygienist but not both. To be both would be a dual relationship. These types of relationships get confusing very quickly. We’re not sure how to behave, what to take seriously, or when some boundary has been crossed.

Jesus found out quickly in his ministry that dual relationships really muddy the waters. It is easy to pity the townsfolk for not recognizing Jesus’s teaching for what it was, but I think that places blame where none is to be found. They were reacting to a dual relationship in a perfectly normal way, and the gospel would not be lost on them. Jesus had twelve disciples who could teach and preach when he could not. These folks would need to hear Good News from someone else, that’s all.

Not every telling of the Good News will fall on your ears like seeds on fertile soil, and that is okay. Sometimes we need to hear in particular ways from particular people in order to understand. There is no wrong way to hear Good News.
As we share our Good News, keep us humble, God. We may not be the right messenger at the right time for the right people. Give us respectful resilience. Amen
Amy Jones
Amy Jones, Agape Coordinator
Amy Jones our Agape Coordinator is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. In this tradition, deacons are ordained clergy who bridge the ministry of the church with the needs of the world, and vice versa. In more than 15 years of ministry, she has worked in churches, in children and family ministry, higher education, and nonprofits. In each setting, her focus has been on matching the resources of the church with the needs of the world. Agape Community Kitchen is exactly the type of work she was called to do. 

Amy can be reached by email at:
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield continues to burn as a light in the darkness as our community weathers this fearsome storm of illness. Our reach of care continues to extend far beyond our immediate borders. You can help us make a real impact in the lives of others by joining in our work through your time, your talents, and also in the fruits of your labors.
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