Mark 1: 29-39

Illustrated New Resources

  • Family Is a Fluid Construct

    by Amy Lindeman Allen
    Family is a fluid construct. It describes an association of individuals who share ancestry, residency, or any number of other affiliations. Within the Jewish tradition, of which Jesus and his disciples were a part, family is central to one’s way of relating in the world. However, a point that is often lost in contemporary interpretation is that what is meant by family remains variable. In the first-century Mediterranean world, family took different forms and commanded different power dynamics from such twenty-first-century arrangements; however, the diversity was just as rich. One example of this can be seen by paying close attention to the family structure taken for granted in Mark 1:29–39. In short order, this text describes the healing and exorcism of many in Capernaum. The first to be healed is Simon’s mother-in-law, who is residing with both Simon and his brother Andrew at their home...
  • The Point of the Miracle

    by Jim Chern
    When I got that email about the bone marrow donor, I was just overwhelmed to see how one of the most terrifying things my family has faced – my niece’s battle with Leukemia – years later could bring about so many unexpected blessings. That what to me was a miracle that my goddaughter experienced has multiplied countless times over… that this story could have affected me so deeply, that when students at the Newman Center at MSU learned about it – it would touch their hearts and motivate them to work so hard to make this bone marrow drive a reality on our campus for several years in a row, and now other student groups have gone on to do so on an annual basis… That this would bring together two complete strangers into another life-changing, hope-filled experience where another potential miracle is unfolding. That’s not just luck. That’s not just a coincidence. Not by a long shot. It’s just another beautifully creative wonder of our ever-surprising, glorious God – who invites us to be a part of His story. To seek Him in the midst of our illnesses and moments of horror, and trust that whether there’s a miraculous healing like a fever leaving with a touch – or through the selflessness displayed through the generosity of loving people, God continues to move with and in and through each of us...
  • The First Resurrection

    by Jim Eaton
    A man went out riding a nice bike one day. He’s practiced at this: it’s an expensive bike, he’s wearing the proper pants for riding and he puts his earphones in and has some great music playing while he rides. But something on the path punctured a tire; a piece of glass, a sharp stone, something, and he left his patch kit home. So instead of enjoying a swift, exhilarating ride, he’s forced to walk the bike, limping along, grumbling in his head. Along the way, the path goes under a bridge and there he encounters a guy who’s dirty and perhaps homeless. The guy says something but the bike rider doesn’t hear him, he just wants to get by. But he can’t, so finally he takes the earphones out and brusquely says, “What is it you want? At that point, the homeless guy says, “I was trying to tell you I have a patch and some glue for your tire if you want to fix your bike.” They fix the bike; the rider goes on his way. But he can’t get over the encounter. He gets some food and clothing together and goes back to the bridge and gives the things to the man. Perhaps they talk; you can imagine the rest. The bike rider experienced a resurrection that day. But he didn’t get it until he started listening...
  • Sermon Starters (Epiphany 5B)(2021)

    by Scott Hoezee
    In a cartoon I once saw there were two somewhat rough-looking characters emerging from a church after a worship service. As they walk down the church steps, the one man is saying to the other, “Well, the news wasn’t all bad–at least I ain’t made no graven images lately!” Among other things, this little cartoon may remind us that in church, we can be rather casual in tossing around language that you mostly don’t encounter the rest of the week. We even read whole stories from the Bible that are so different from anything we have ever experienced–or even anticipate experiencing–that there may be a quiet and subtle disconnect between what we say in church and the rest of our lives. If the gospel is true, however, then any apparent gap between what we talk about in church and what goes on the rest of the week must be only apparent and so not a real gap. That is to say, if there is simply no such thing as “graven images” in life, then talking about such an unreal thing in church ushers people into a realm of fantasy, a fictional world that has no true connection to the actual world. We need to ponder this sometimes when dealing with passages that treat the presence of demon and the demon-possessed as a run-of-the-mill reality in Jesus’ day. Is there ANY such thing still around today?
  • Soaring With Eagles While Living With Turkeys

    by Beth Johnston
    A few months ago, a British war veteran, approaching his hundredth birthday, wanted to raise a few thousand pounds for Britain’s National Health Service as a way of thanking them for their work treating those who were affected by the COVID epidemic. He accepted the challenge to walk 100 laps of the garden at his retirement home. As he came closer and closer to his goal, he received more and more media attention. When his trek ended he was given an honour guard and the title of Honorary Colonel of a military college. At the end of his trek his total raised was almost 45M Ł. In one of his many interviews he spoke of his wartime service and noted that there would be better days ahead. Capt Sir Tom Moore was knighted by the Queen for his extraordinary service. He died recently of COVID. Even as I heard the news of his death I could also hear the words of Dame Vera Lynn as she sang of hope in a very dark time in her country’s history, “There’ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover,” and “We’ll meet again”. On her 103 birthday when her nation was living in fear, not of bombs falling from the sky, but of a deadly virus they could not see, she advised her fellow Britons to “find moments of joy.” She died last June but her voice of hope will never be silenced as long as people continue to hear the music and take the words to heart...
  • Dissonance and Resolve

    by Chris Litman-Koon
    Saint Peter’s Church in midtown Manhattan is a Lutheran congregation with a long history. In the local vernacular, it is often called “the jazz church” for its deep connection to the New York City jazz community and for its weekly jazz service. In the grand story of the congregation’s history, the years 2020 and 2021 will stand out as acutely painful. The congregation has not met for in-person worship since the onset of the pandemic, yet at least 60 members of Saint Peter’s Church died from COVID-19 by the end of 2020. That in itself is heartbreaking for any faith community. Then on January 4 of this year, a municipal water main broke outside the church. This flooded the entire plaza where the church is located, and it sent water and mud a few feet deep into the main sanctuary and the lower level of the church. The damage to the building was extensive, including the organ, piano, and archival artifacts which include items once belonging to legendary jazz musicians John Coltrane and Billy Strayhorn. The leadership of the congregation has expressed appreciation for the various ways the broader community has rallied to support Saint Peter’s Church during this devastating time...

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

{Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. FWIW!!]
  • Illustrations on Healing

    from the Archives
  • The Holy One in Unholy Places

    by D. Mark Davis
    (includes lots of Greek exegesis!)
  • *A Day In the Life of Jesus

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("There is a priest who does a very unusual thing. He spends much of his off time riding with police officers on their shifts. For the first couple of times, he rode along simply out of curiosity. But after a while, police officers began to invite him to ride along..." and several other illustrations)
  • Homiletic Ideas (Ordinary 5B)

    by Sil Galvan
    The ancient Greeks had a saying: 'By words alone are the lives of mortals swayed'. Sweazey writes: the talkers are the doers, if what they talk about is important. The greatest doer of all was called the 'Word'...
  • A Life of Service

    by Sil Galvan
    She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea. "Hello," she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child. "I'm building," she said. "I see that. What is it?" I asked, not caring. "Oh, I don't know. I just like the feel of the sand." That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by. "That's a joy," the child said. "It's what?" "It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy."
  • Epiphany 5B

    by Bill Loader
    (always good insights!)
  • At the Movies

    by Andrew Prior
    ("In The Piano, the woman is being rescued; taken away in the boat. The piano goes with her, that enigmatic symbol. She calls them to halt, out over the deep sea, and directs them to tip it overboard. This seems right. It is a shedding, a stepping into freedom. What follows is a marvellous piece of artificiality, which is one of the deepest parts of the movie..." and references other movies along with quotes)
  • Exegetical Notes (Mark 1:29-39)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis)
  • *Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Ordinary 5B)

    by Various Authors
    ("The great architect Frank Lloyd Wright was fond of an incident that may have seemed insignificant at the time, but had a profound influence on the rest of his life. The winter he was nine, he went walking across a snow-covered field with his reserved, no-nonsense uncle..." and many more)

Illustrated Resources from 2018 to 2020

  • Joel Osteen and Making Sense of Suffering

    by Jim Chern
    From what I heard and have seen on Joel Osteen's twitter feed - most of his preaching can be categorized as “prosperity gospel”, meaning that he believes that God always wills financial blessing and physical well being for His children - and if we are faithful to Him, those blessings will manifest in our lives. On New Year’s Eve, this friend shared Osteen’s tweet that summarized this theme of prosperity Gospel: Let this sink down in your spirit; your due season is here. Promotion is coming, increase is coming, good breaks are coming. In this due season, your cup is going to overflow. We wish you and your family a #HappyNewYear It’s not hard to see why Osteen is immensely popular. He’s tapping into those universal human desires for wealth and health...
  • Going Nowhere Fast

    by Delmer Chilton
    “Ben Hunnicutt, professor of leisure studies at the University of Iowa, explains (that) busy is actually one of the seven deadly sins; it is slothfulness. In the Middle Ages, slothfulness had two forms: one is lazy, the other—acedia—is running around frantically. ‘There is no real place I’m going, but by God, I’m making great time getting there'”...
  • Identity Fulfillment

    by Evan Garner
    Do you remember the Seinfeld episode "The Burning," in which, after a brilliant performance, Kramer was repeatedly type-cast as a patient with gonorrhea by the medical school that was paying him to pretend to have an illness so that its patients could diagnose him? It's never been a threat to me, but I can imagine not wanting to be type cast. I remember in the early 2000s when Robin Williams played a series of non-comedic roles in some twisted films like One Hour Photo and Insomnia, and it seemed strange to see how Patch Adams had become the villain. In Sunday's gospel lesson, we get a full dose of type-casting, but, if we get stuck on that, we may miss the significance of it...
  • To Move, To Touch, To Heal

    by David Hodges
    From the Jordan River to the wilderness, to the sea of Galilee where he calls his first disciples, to the synagogue in Capernaum, to Peter and Andrew's home, to a deserted place where he goes to pray, and then on to towns throughout Galilee, Jesus is on the move. But in the opening chapter of Mark's Gospel, where we read about all of this moving around, the story of Jesus and the development of his ministry, can feel somewhat disjointed and unplanned. It is only when you step back and look at the movement of Jesus that you begin to see that each move he makes is part of a larger pattern. In the fundraising business, there is a process called "moves management." It is a tool that fundraisers use to build relationship with someone who is, or may become, a donor. The relationship is moved along with a number of "touches" that are designed to be carried out over a period of time...
  • A Call Story

    by Karoline Lewis
    Careful exegetical work, too often lacking in too many sermons, and most certainly absent in the arguments of those who use biblical texts for their own gain, proves that her service is an embodiment of the angels for Jesus in the wilderness, and how Jesus describes his own ministry. Simon’s mother-in-law does not serve because she has to, because she is compelled to, because someone asks her to, because that’s her supposed place. She serves because this is what discipleship looks like. She serves, showing us what following Jesus will really mean.
  • Epiphany 5B (2018)

    by Thomas Jay Oord
    Picture a woman named Debbie, who has been praying. She’s been praying for health and healing, for other people and for herself. She knows other Christians who testify to God’s healing in their own lives. And the Bible describes Jesus as an amazing miracle worker. “They brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons,” says Mark’s Gospel, “and he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons.” Debbie’s prayers have not been answered...
  • The Silence of the Messiah

    by J. Leavitt Pearl
    In its summary of Jesus’ early ministry in Capernaum, the Gospel of Mark notes that Jesus “cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him” (1:34). This passage stands together with similar accounts as an instance of what William Wrede named in 1901: the “messianic secret.” For Wrede, the literary motif of the messianic secret allowed Mark to emphasize the miraculous and divine role of Jesus among those who still possessed the living memory of the all-too-human Jesus of Nazareth. By instituting this motif, the recipients of the message of Jesus could be divided in two: the insiders—with their special access to divine revelation—and the ignorant outsiders. As Mark writes, “to you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables”...

Illustrated Resources from 2015 to 2017

  • Turning Off Pain, Ending Suffering

    by Jim Chern
    ("Does our pain also have a purpose? That's one of the toughest questions people of faith are left to struggle with. A few weeks ago, when Pope Francis was in the Philippines, with hundreds of thousands of people who were touched by the devastation of the typhoons last year, a 12 year old asked the Pope, 'Why so much suffering?' And he basically admitted in tears he didn't have an easy answer for her or for any of us...")
  • Epiphany 5B (2015)

    by Delmer Chilton
    ("Years ago a youth group gave me a T-shirt I wore so much I wore it out. It read something like this: 'To be is to do.'-Socrates. 'To do is to be.'-Plato. 'Do-be-do-be-do.'-Sinatra. Our Gospel lesson for today shows Jesus moving back and forth between doing and being – healing Simon's mother-in-law and the others who were brought to him, getting up early and going off alone to pray, to just BE with God...")
  • From Pillar to Post

    by Tom Cox
    ["Remember this Gospel also tells us that on the same day at sunset, when the sabbath is over, they bring to Jesus all sorts of sick people and those possessed by evil. So many come that they can't get access. Every parish will tell you that if you add the word "healing" to any event in parish life, people throng to it. It's no accident. The Church only really draws people when the suffering can find Jesus healing and alleviating suffering within it. There are many people suffering at the door of our communities. Let's not forget it..."]
  • Contemplatives in Action

    by Stephen Fowl
    ("Inspired by this dynamic movement between authoritative action and prayer in the life of Jesus, the members of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, think of themselves as contemplatives in action. This recognizes, as Jesus seems to, that the demands of ministry are so constant, so compelling and comprehensive that it requires them to take time for prayer and contemplation. Otherwise they run the risk of becoming mindless in their ministry...")
  • Healed to Serve, Serve to Heal

    by Owen Griffiths
    ("Today, however, those same wounded and abused vets are the biggest supporters of our currently serving military. Their organizations mobilize to make sure that this generation of troops is treated better than their generation had been treated. They are the first to organize and advocate politically for care of the ones who return, and they always show up in force at homecomings. I respect their lack of bitterness and honest desire to be of service. To me, this looks like healing...")
  • Epiphany 5B (2015)

    by Scott Hoezee
    In a cartoon I once saw there were two somewhat rough-looking characters emerging from a church after a worship service. As they walk down the church steps, the one man is saying to the other, “Well, the news wasn’t all bad–at least I ain’t made no graven images lately!” Among other things, this little cartoon may remind us that in church, we can be rather casual in tossing around language that you mostly don’t encounter the rest of the week...
  • Simon's Mother-in-Law: An Exquisite Awareness

    by Janet Hunt
    ("I have not forgotten the awareness which came to me on a dark January night, not long after midnight. I was standing in a hospital elevator as we prepared to leave the hospital that last time without him when I was suddenly awash with the certainty that while I would do anything to have him back, still I would be hard pressed to willingly give up what I now knew: About the preciousness of human life and the gift of the laughter of my sisters as we whiled away the hours in the waiting room telling old stories...")
  • Acquainted with the Night

    by Terrance Klein
    ("The poem doesn't require explanation, though some might be surprised to hear such a somber sound from Robert Frost. 'I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in rain—and back in rain. I have outwalked the furthest city light. I have looked down the saddest city lane. I have passed by the watchman on his beat And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain...")
  • Spider Man

    Visual Parables by Ed McNulty
    ("The gospel text contains the first instance of what scholars call Jesus' 'Messianic Secret', with Jesus not allowing the cast-out demons to speak. This predates such heroes as The Amazing , who also have reasons to keep their identities secret...")
  • In Search of a Deserted Place

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    The so-called desert mothers and fathers were hermits who lived primarily in the deserts of Egypt in order to be closer to God. Arguably the most well-known of these was St. Anthony (who has a host of other designations as well...Anthony the Great, Anthony the Abbot, etc.). At one point in his life, Anthony believed himself to be the first Christian to go live in the desert. In a vision he was told of St. Paul of Thebes, so he set out to find this "more excellent" servant and hermit. The meeting of Sts. Anthony and Paul is often set in front of a cave, presumably Paul's cave, and usually including the raven that brought bread to the two hermits (much like Elijah was fed by ravens)...
  • Valued or Ill?

    by Andrew Prior
    (includes several quotes)
  • A Mother-in-Law Story

    by Nancy Rockwell
    ["In the film, American Sniper, Bradley Cooper's character, Chris Kyle, a gentle-voiced sniper who can target and kill a man a mile away, is serene in the wake of his own carnage because he holds in his heart an interpretation of the parable of the Good Shepherd, in which he is a sheepdog, not a wolf. He and the wolf are both killers, but he is righteous, he believes, because he kills to protect sheep from wolves...."]
  • Three Kinds of Spirituality

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ["At one level, we need a spirituality of maintenance, that is, a spirituality that helps us to maintain our normal health, stability, and ordinariness. Too often spiritual teachings neglect this vital aspect of spirituality. Rather we are forever being challenged to grow, be better persons, to be better Christians, to simply be better than we are at present. That's good, but it naively takes for granted that we are already healthy, stable, and strong enough to be challenged..."]
  • God Writes Straight with Crooked Lines

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Even if you are not a 'senior' -- whether you're in prepubescence, adolescence, middlescence, elderescence, or senescence -- all of us experience 'senior moments'. You intentionally set out on a mission to get something - forgotten car keys, replacement printer paper, a fresh cup of coffee - and suddenly you get waylaid by some wayward distraction. You encounter a co-worker with a sudden crisis...")
  • Reaching for God's Hand

    by Keith Wagner
    ("One of the founders of AA is 'Bill W'. In The Big Book, he tells about his healing encounter with Jesus in the caring love of an old school friend, a former drinking buddy. One day this friend just happened to call Bill and asked if he could drop by for a visit. This friend had undergone a miraculous recovery from alcoholism. With the help of God, he had escaped his addiction...")
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Healing

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Prayer

    compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources from 2009 to 2014

  • I Do So Willingly

    by Phil Bloom
    ("For people in ancient times, hospitality was their top value. It was the glue that held their society together. For Peter's mother-in-law, hospitality was a sacred duty. But there is something more. The text says, 'She waited on them'. The word for 'wait on them' is 'diaconia' - the root of our word 'deacon'...)
  • Peter's Mother-in-Law, Thomas Dorsey and Us

    by R. William Carroll
    ("It was thus with Thomas Dorsey, not the band leader but the African American Gospel musician of the same name. It was a parishioner at the congregation I serve who first shared with me the story of how he came to write Precious Lord...")
  • Choose Fast

    by Rob Elder
    ("Do you know the singer, Bono? Chances are, if you are my age or older, you probably don't. He is a popular singer and sometimes guitar player with the Irish rock band U2. He is a bit of a pop cultural icon, which makes his appearance to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast last Thursday unusual...")
  • The Whole City at the Door

    by Rob Elder
    Have you heard the type-A personality version of the old “Now I Lay Me Down” child’s bedtime prayer? “Now I wake me up to work, I pray the Lord I will not shirk. If I should die before the night, I pray the Lord my work’s all right.” It has been said that “most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, work at their play and play at their worship.” All the essential elements of life are there, but their order, and especially their focus, is upside down...
  • Touched

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("There is a short movie clip that goes like this. Mum and dad are seated in an auditorium waiting for a concert to begin when they realise that their son Tommy is missing, each presuming that Tommy was with the other. Suddenly the stage curtain rolls back revealing a little boy sitting at the grand piano playing 'Twinkle twinkle little star'. It's Tommy...")
  • Healing

    By Denis Hanly, MM
    Lots of people spend their vacations at Lourdes, taking people from the train to the grotto, bathing them in the waters, bringing them to a place where they can stay the night, or a few nights, or a week. Anyhow, one of the ladies who does that kind of work, I was talking to her and I said to her, “Do you ever see any cures?” “One day I went to meet the train, and there was a boy on the train and he was paralysed from the neck down, and something terrible happened, he fell into something or…” (she wasn’t quite sure what it was). “But anyhow, the spine suffered and he was unable to move. “And he was very angry. And his parents and his family brought him to Lourdes to see if the waters would cure him and a miracle would happen.” And every day she brought him to where he was staying and she helped him into the bed and he laid there. And she came in and she fed him every day, and they would take him to the waters. And each day he wouldn’t say anything. He just wouldn’t say anything at all. Or he was surly if he did open his mouth. And towards the end he seemed to quiet down a little bit. But on the final day they brought him down and washed him in the waters. And he came back and then they dressed him and she was taking him to the train. And by that time, she’d got to know him a little bit and she says, “William, I’m very sorry that you weren’t healed.” And he said, “Oh,” he said, “but the miracle took place,” and he smiled at her. And she said, “What do you mean?” And he said, “Well, I came here not only with a crippled body, but a crippled heart. And my heart has been healed, and I go home rejoicing and at peace.”...
  • Epiphany 5B (2009)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("As Jesus makes clear in verse 38, his main task was first and foremost to preach and proclaim the message that has now become the gospel. That's why even now we need to be willing to proclaim the truth of God's kingdom. Today as much as ever, people need to know that this kingdom is real and available. They need to see the joy and the possibilities of that kingdom in the church...")
  • Source of Strength

    by Kate Huey
    (includes several quotes)
  • Sustaining Ministry

    by Kate Huey
    (includes several quotes)
  • Not Easy But Free

    by Peter Hunter, OP
    ("There is a beautiful moment of reversal in the film Babette's Feast. The film tells the story of a pair of sober and austere women and their village, whose puritanical world is turned upside down when their housekeeper offers to cook for them a real French meal...")
  • Jesus Is Not a Super-Human Miracle Worker! Jesus Is Human!

    by Dawn Hutchings
    Roseto is a small working-class town in Pennsylvania that was founded back in the late 19th century. From it’s founding to the late 1950’s it was populated by Italian immigrants from a town also called Roseto in Italy. Reseto would have remained a relatively obscure little town had it not been for the work of a medical school professor called Steward Wolf. While attending a medical conference Professor Wolf met a GP from a town very near Roseto who told him that he’d been practicing medicine for 17 years and in all that time very few patients ever came to see him from Roseto who were under the age of 65 and were suffering from heart disease. Professor Wolf was very surprised by this, because in the 1950’s heart attacks were epidemic in the United States. Heart disease was the leading cause of death in men under 65. Eventually the researchers realized that there was something in the way the people of Roseto related to one another. How they visited one another. How they stopped to chat . They saw how three generations lived under one roof. They saw the calming and unifying effect of the local church. They counted 22 separate civic organizations in a town of just 22,000 people. They picked up on the egalitarian ethos that discouraged the wealthy from flaunting their success and helped the unsuccessful thrive despite their failures. People are nourished and healed by other people. At one time the little town of Roseto became a laboratory demonstrating that neighborliness is good for your health...
  • New Life for All

    by Linda Kraft
    ("I recently heard a fellow tell about a time in his mother's life that changed the future for his entire family. This woman had several conditions that limited her enjoyment of life. I don't remember all of them, but it seems she was diabetic, had high blood pressure and high cholesterol, heart palpitations and who knows what else. She was on so many medications she couldn't remember when to take them all...")
  • *Casting Out Demons

    by Charles Love
    (includes several quotes)
  • *The Secretive Celebrity

    by Jim McCrea
    ("On July 7, 2005, a group of home-grown Islamic terrorists detonated four bombs in London, three in quick succession aboard Underground trains across the city and a fourth on a double-decker bus. Fifty-two people were killed in the attacks, and more than 700 others were injured. One of the injured was a woman named Gill Hicks, who lost both of her legs...")
  • God Is Present and Active

    by Judith McDaniel
    ("In 1992 Marcus Borg wrote a book entitled Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. Borg regards Jesus as a 'Spirit person, a Jewish mystic'; and he makes a distinction between the pre-Easter Jesus and the post-Easter Jesus. Borg tries to get behind the poetry of the Bible to the history that generated its metaphors..." and other quotes and analysis)
  • Too Busy Not to Pray

    by Philip McLarty
    Bill Hybels is Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill. In 1998, he published a book entitled, Too Busy Not To Pray. In it, he stressed the importance of prayer for those whose lives are overly hectic, stressed out and scheduled to the max – those who, like us sometimes, complain: "I have so much to do that I just can't seem to find time to pray." This leads to his thesis: The more you have to do, the more you need to pray. The less time you think you have, the more time you need to spend with God. Hybels says if you'll first take time to pray, you'll actually have more time for everything else – that it's not a matter of time, but a matter of priorities and a matter of trust: When you put God first and rely upon the strength of God's grace to get things done, you become more effective and more efficient. Most importantly, you realize it's not all up to you – God is up ahead, clearing the path and guiding the way...
  • What Could Make You Happy?

    by Rick Miles
    Some events in our Gospel lesson from Mark this morning, do point out at least three things that could make us happy. The first thing pointed to is this: Happiness begins with a touch. Jesus was visiting in Simon Peter’s home. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. Jesus went to her, touched her, and lifted her up. Immediately she was healed and restored in strength. She got up and began serving Jesus and his disciples right then and there. This was, no doubt, her way of saying thanks, but it began with Jesus’ touch...
  • All Things to All People?

    by Fran Ota
    ("Diana Butler Bass, in her book Christianity for the Rest of Us, talks about churches which have transformed themselves into vital and living places of healing and ministry, and how that happened. Calvin Presbyterian Church in western Pennsylvania developed a healing prayer ministry...")
  • *Epiphany 5B (2009)

    by Joseph Parrish
    ("I was befuddled when one of my patients at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan on September 11, 2001, began to die in front of my very eyes. She was in good spirits, or so it seemed, when I left her bedside on September 14, an emaciated woman, but alive on that Friday...")
  • At the Movies

    by Andrew Prior
    (includes several quotes)
  • The Domestic God

    by Jan Richardson
    "In her commentary on this passage in The Women's Bible Commentary, Mary Ann Tolbert points out that the word denoting the woman's action, rendered in the NRSV as serve (from the Greek root diakoneo, related to the word for deacon), is the same word used to describe what angels do for Jesus at the end of his forty days in the wilderness..."
  • The Therapy of Family, Community and Church

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("Thirty years ago, Philip Rieff wrote a book entitled The Triumph of the Therapeutic. In it, he argues that the widespread need for private therapy today exists mainly because community has broken down. In societies where there are strong communities, he contends, there is much less need for private therapy...")
  • Sandbox First, Soapbox Second

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("The most celebrated movie star of the 'Silent Era' was Swedish actress Greta Garbo. She famously declared her own life's desire in her epic film Grand Hotel (1932), when 'Garbomania' reached its peak: 'I just want to alone'. True to her word, Garbo 'retired' at age 36...")
  • Epiphany 5B (2009)

    by Martin Warner
    ("I remember a woman at church called Violet. She was in a wheelchair, and loved those days when we had a procession and walked all round the building. She sang with the best of us, and watched the procession with delight and devotion...")
  • Another Story about Healing

    by Sue Whitt
    ("Its products are in use in refugee camps and disaster areas all over the third world: PermaNet, a mosquito net impregnated with insecticide; ZeroFly, a tent tarp that kills flies; and the LifeStraw, a filter worn around the neck that makes filthy water safe to drink")

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

  • Simon's Mother-In-Law

    Narrative Sermon by Barbara Beam
    ("Well, there I am. You people have a saying about everyone having their 15 minutes of fame. This is mine. Right there in the Gospel written by that boy Mark...")
  • *Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

    by Bede Camera, OSB
    ("To borrow the words of a well-known song, are you "looking for love in all the wrong places"? That song came out in 1980 and was written by Johnny Lee. I got the information from the Internet by typing the titles into a Google search. There were lots of links...")
  • Epiphany 5B (2006)

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
    ("Novelist Russell Banks once wrote a short story called The Fish. In this fanciful tale we are told about a giant fish that lived in a good-sized lake not far from a small Chinese village. For reasons no one was ever clear about, the authorities, led by a Colonel Tung, decided that this giant fish was a menace that had to be removed from the lake...")
  • Do You Really Want to Be Healed?

    by Dennis Clark
    ("There's a tale by H. G. Wells about an elegant, white maned old bishop who could always be counted on for a pious platitude...")
  • Epiphany 5B (2003)

    by John Colon
    ("Milton S. Hershey, of chocolate fame, had an awesome talent for building his business. Interestingly, while alive he did this without spending a single penny on advertising. He did this quietly and without great fanfare...")
  • *The Father Connection

    by Tom Cox
    ("As the 75th Academy Awards of late March approaches, the film industry cranks up its efforts to advance their films with trade paper ads, promotional screenings, and other efforts. Fame is valued. Not least by the arriving stars at the ceremony, who turn and wave gratifyingly at the fans...")
  • Jesus the Exorcist

    by Garry Deverell
    ("In People of the Lie, Scott Peck argued that there were two kinds of demons. One was not that dissimilar to the one I already believed in: a disembodied personality which came from somewhere else with the express purpose of taking over the running of someone’s life...")
  • Choose Fast

    by Rob Elder
    ("Do you know the singer, Bono? Chances are, if you are my age or older, you probably don't. He is a popular singer and sometimes guitar player with the Irish rock band U2. He is a bit of a pop cultural icon, which makes his appearance to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast last Thursday unusual...")
  • Reaching Out to the Leper

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    ("Martin was a young soldier in the Roman army. Elegantly dressed, he was mounted on his horse one day when he was accosted by a leper begging for alms. The sight and the stench of rotting flesh was so repulsive to the sensitivities of young Martin that his first instincts were to ride off on his horse....")
  • What Jesus Really Came For

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    PhD holders are causing confusion in Africa. People call them doctors and when simple village folks hear it, they flock to them with all their health problems. These “doctors” find themselves in a serious predicament...v
  • For the Sake of the Gospel

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("As I begin, I want to tell you a story about something which happened in New Mexico a few years back. A small town in that state decided to have an auction to raise money for a community centre...")
  • Epiphany 5B (2003)

    by Robert Giannini
    ("A wise colleague simply asked at that point if there was anybody in the room who had an Alcoholics Anonymous book, and we found one. He turned to the twelve steps and asked me to read Steps 11 and 12--the final steps in recovery. Here's what I read...")
  • Ordinary 5B (2006)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there were some doctors who were discussing whether prayer helped their patients. Does it do any good, they asked, for people to pray for those who are sick...")
  • Ordinary 5B (2000)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there were two women friends who were searching for signs from God in their world. Whenever there was a claimed sighting of some sign of Mary anywhere in the world, they would travel together to the site...")
  • Early Morning Rendezvous

    by Cynthia Hale
    ("My ancestors, the Negro slaves, understood the need for quiet to hear God. They used to steal away to a secret place to meet God and then sing: 'Hush, Hush, somebody's calling my name...")
  • *How Do We Live?

    by Mark Haverland
    ("When John Wesley came to America as a young priest to convert the heathen Indians, he had such an experience of thinking his journey would end in his death. It didn’t, as it turned out, but the experience of horror and fear he felt affected the course of his life and ministry forever...")
  • *Jesus Spoke with Authority

    by Mark Haverland
    ("I came across a story about a gathering in which a noted actor was called upon to give an oration. He stood, cleared his throat, and recited the 23rd Psalm, with perfect dramatization, inflection, and so on...")
  • *The Jesus Touch

    by Mark Haverland
    ("Even before he finished dialing, he somehow knew he'd made a mistake. The phone rang once, twice--then someone picked it up. 'You got the wrong number!' a husky male voice snapped before the line went dead. Mystified, the man dialed again...")
  • That Is What I Came to Do

    by Peter Haynes
    ("One of my favorite authors, Chaim Potok, knew at an early age that he wanted to be a writer. When he went off to college, however, his mother took him aside and said, 'Chaim, I know you want to be a writer, but I have a better idea. Why don't you be a brain surgeon? You'll keep a lot of people from dying, and you'll make a lot of money.' 'No, mama,' he replied, 'I want to be a writer.'...")
  • Epiphany 5B (2006)

    by Frank Hegedus
    ("Most of us are familiar with Lourdes, the Roman Catholic shrine in southern France at which the Blessed Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a saintly young woman named Bernadette a century and a half ago. Pilgrims today continue to throng the shrine, hoping to be cured of their ailments...")
  • *Ordinary 5B (2000)

    from Homilies Alive
    ("A two-story house had caught fire. The family -- mother, father and several children -- were on their way out of the burning house when the youngest boy became terrified and tore away from his mother. He ran back upstairs...")
  • On Being Lifted Up

    by John Jewell
    ("A while back, an advertisement for the drug Prozac was singing the praises so to speak, of this wonder drug for human emotions. A cheerful, vivacious woman in her mid-life years was telling how she had never felt better since she started taking Prozac...")
  • More Than Survival

    by Linda Kraft
    ("I know of another family where the parents of a son were overjoyed that their only child had found the life partner of his dreams and they traveled miles and miles to help celebrate the big day...")
  • Jesus Our Healer

    by Tommy Lane
    ("One morning I received a call to come to the emergency room to see an 11-year old boy named Johnny who was dying. I found him on a breathing machine, his head swollen very large. Johnny’s parents told me that he had been riding his bike on a gravel road near his home when a truck came flying over the hill and hit him head-on......")
  • God of Nature and the Nature of God

    by Ken Leinbach
    ("Watching my Dad's last breath was the most profound spiritual experience of my life. It was the day after Christmas, the sun had set, and a soundless, sound absorbing snow was falling outside. God was in the house. God is always in the house, but my Dad was open to God in a way I'll only be once, and I saw God...")
  • Hunger for Healing (Hypochondriasis)

    by Edward Markquart
    ("In a famous book GETTING WELL AGAIN by Symington and Symington, who are cancer research specialists, these research physicians discuss stress as a contributing cause of most disease, including cancer. High levels of stress cause a susceptibility to disease, especially chronic stress, and stress over a long period of time contributes to the repression of the immune system...")
  • A Day in the Life of Jesus

    by David Martyn
    Groundhog Day is the story of a man who is condemned to repeating the same dull day over and over again. After exploring the possibilities of using the day for any self-centered activity he can think of and manipulating others, he finally decides to sanctify his time by using the day to serve others and make himself better. Suddenly the mundane becomes blessed and the cycle is broken...
  • Hunt or Wait

    by David Martyn
    Have you not heard of the young woman, mother of two children, who died of cancer? Have you not heard of how she, after her first round of chemotherapy, gave thanks to God for the blessing of cancer? Yes, she spoke of the people she had met and how she had been deepened in Jesus Christ and how she would not have traded the journey for anything. Have you not heard of how she knew the peace of God before she died? She lifted her eyes up to the hills and beyond to the stars and knew where her hope dwelt. Outwardly, it looked like cancer had won. To the world, many prayers for healing look unanswered. But prayers for healing were answered. The greatest healing was known; the peace of God that surpasses our understanding was given...
  • My Mother-in-Law

    by David Martyn
    Two women came before wise King Solomon, dragging between them a young man. “This young man agreed to marry my daughter,” said one. “No! He agreed to marry my daughter,” said the other. And so they haggled before the King until he called for silence. “Bring me my biggest sword,” said Solomon, “and I shall cut the young man in half. Each of you shall receive a half.” “Sounds good to me,” said the first lady. But the other woman said, “Oh Sire, do not spill innocent blood. Let the other woman’s daughter marry him.” The wise king did not hesitate a moment. “This man must marry the first lady’s daughter,” he proclaimed. “But she was willing to cut him in two!” exclaimed the king’s court. “Indeed,” said wise King Solomon. “That shows she is the true mother-in-law!”...
  • The Church is for Healing!

    by R. Tim Meadows
    ("Tony Campolo, who when challenged to have his own ministry of healing by a friend, tried it with the following result: 'Having been challenged to add a healing ministry to my work, I decided to try it at a service in a church in Oregon. On impulse at the end of the service I announced to any who wanted to remain that we would be having a healing service...")
  • *Ordinary 5B (2003)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("A few years ago, I was part of a group of 4 Jesuits who were sent to set up a new community in the heart of Moss Side in Manchester. This is a place which is famous for being the drug trafficking capital of the whole of the North of England...")
  • God Does Not Cause Suffering

    by William Oldland
    ("The woman was watching over her husband in the hospital bed. She wasn't sad and crying. She was frustrated and angry. Her husband had Alzheimer's and had not been himself for a long time...")
  • Temptation Does Not Mean The Devil Made Me Do It

    by William Oldland
    ("One of the favorite shows in our house as I grew up was The Flip Wilson Variety Show. I remember the family gathering in the den to see what antics and characters Flip Wilson would develop next. One of our favorite characters that Flip played was Geraldine...")
  • Let the Healing Begin

    by John Pavelko
    ("The parents called from the emergency room. Sally had spinal meningitis and the doctors offered little hope. They asked Pastor Will to visit. Driving to the hospital the pastor felt bewildered. He wondered how he was going to minister to a child of five and her parents...")
  • When a Friend Comes to Visit

    by John Pavelko
    What a Friend We Have In Jesus was never intended to be published. Its author Joseph Scriven wrote the words as a poem to his sick mother. Scriven who had immigrated to Canada, learned that his mother had taken ill. He could not afford to return to his native Dublin so he wrote her a letter and included a poem. He retained a copy of the poem for his personal collection. A few years later Scriven himself was ill and a friend came to visit him. The friend read it with keen interest but the words were never published until after Scriven's death. Then a collection of the Irishman's poetry was complied in a book entitled, Hymns and Other Verses. The words were not put to music until many years later...
  • Everyone Is Searching for You!

    by Peter Perry
    ("Years ago there was a popular little book called Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Jonathan was a seagull who wanted more from life than what everyone expected of life. He was on a quest…Most gulls don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight -- how to get from shore to food and back again...")
  • I Will, with God's Help

    by Mary Moore Roberson
    ("Some years ago I served on the lay staff of my home parish under the supervision of the priest charged with pastoral care. Barbara took to appearing, first at the door to his office and then mine. She was a member of that very large, very affluent place...")
  • Don't Make Me NO Hero!

    by Barry Robinson
    "An elderly man who was quite ill said to his wife, 'You know, Sarah, you’ve always been with me – through the good and the bad. Like the time I lost my job – your were right there by my side..."
  • *And She Began To Serve Them

    by Ron Saunders
    ("David McClelland, of Harvard Medical School, has demonstrated the power of love to make the body healthier through what he calls the Mother Teresa Effect. Here’s how he did it. Before showing a documentary film on the life of Mother Teresa to a group of college students, he measured the levels of immunoglubulin A in their saliva...")
  • A Faith For People No One Else Wants

    by Martin Singley
    ("A few years ago, I had the honor of worshipping in a little Canadian Anglican Church that sits in the shadow of the giant retailer Eatons in downtown Toronto. When we visited a service, there were only about a dozen of us in the crowd. We sat in the chancel, in two rows of chairs facing each other, and we all participated in the service...")
  • Are You Plugged In?

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("In the movie Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal has had several of those sudden curves and crashes. The movie opens with her having moved to the tiny town of Naomi, Florida, with her father, the preacher. Like most 'new kids,' in town, Opal hasn't made any friends, yet......" and other illustrations)
  • The Deserted Place of Your Life

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("There was a newspaper photographer who was called in by his editor and told the was a fire was raging out of control south of the city. The editor told him to there was a plane waiting at the nearby airport and get some pictures for the evening edition..." and other illustrations)
  • Allowing God to Enter

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Mirror, Mirror on the Wall speaks to this: 'The child still in each of us looks in a mirror and hears it saying accusingly, "You! Look at you! You can't do that! You're scrawny, your ears stick out and you're too shy to speak up in class...")
  • The Impact of Compassion

    by Alex Thomas
    ("C.S. Lewis in his book SURPRISED BY JOY talks of his conversion. Lewis was a brilliant thinker and writer before his conversion and was extremely negative and atheistic toward religion of any kind. His conversion was no easy process. Here is how he describes it..." and other illustrations)
  • *Looking for Healing

    Narrative Sermon by Pamela Tinnin
    ("The summer I was seven years old, 1953 it was, I come down with polio. Mama tells it that I was feelin’ fine when she called me in for the noon meal, but by supper I was fussin’ about how I hurt all over. When she put her hand on my forehead, she said I was hot as a stove lid...")
  • Healed and Willing

    by Keith Wagner
    ("When pitcher Dave Dravecky first noticed a lump on his pitching arm, he had it checked out, but nothing seemed amiss. The lump continued to grow, however, and eventually he had it biopsied. The result came back; a cancer called fibrosarcoma. The treatment called for aggressive surgery...")
  • Help Me, I'm Falling!

    by Keith Wagner
    ("An old woman was trudging along a country road with a heavy pack upon her back when her parson came along in his carriage and offered her a ride. Gratefully she climbed into the vehicle but kept the pack on her back. The clergyman suggested she put the pack on the floor of the carriage...")
  • Illustrations (Epiphany 5B)(2006)

    by Tim Zingale
    ("Ben Patterson, in Waiting, writes: 'In 1988, three friends and l climbed Mount Lyell, the highest peak in Yosemite National Park. Two of us were experienced mountaineers. I was not one of the experienced two. Our base camp was less than 2,000 feet from the peak, but the climb to the top and back was to take the better part of a day, due in large part to the difficulty of the glacier one must cross to get to the top...")
  • More Illustrations (Epiphany 5B)(2003)

    by Tim Zingale
    ("Roland Hayes, celebrated American tenor, was born in Curryville, Georgia, in 1887. As a little boy, he heard an old Negro minister preach about Christ on trial before Pilate. The preacher elaborated on Pilate's anger because of Christ's silence. "Why don't you say something . . . answer me"?' The old preacher painted the picture vividly, adding, 'Jesus never said a mumberlin' word, not a mumberlin' word.' The scene was riveted in Roland's mind...")
  • Let Go, Let God

    by Tim Zingale
    ("During the terrible days of the Blitz, a father, holding his small son by the hand, ran from a building that had been struck by a bomb. In the front yard was a shell hole. Seeking shelter as quickly as possible, the father jumped into the hole and held up his arms for his son to follow. Terrified, yet hearing his father's voice telling him to jump, the boy replied, 'I can't see you!' The father, looking up against the sky tinted red by the burning buildings, called to the silhouette of his son, 'But I can see you. Jump!'..." and other illustrations)
  • God's Kingdom Is at Hand

    by Tim Zingale
    ("In a textile factory where threads are woven into fabrics there is a sign above the machines: 'If the treads become tangled, call the foreman.' A new employee found the threads on her machine badly tangled. Frantically she tried to untangle them...")
  • Epiphany 5B (2006)

    by Samuel Zumwalt
    ("In the recent movie Lord of War, Nicholas Cage plays arms dealer Uri Orlov. As the son of Ukrainian immigrants to Brighton Beach NY, Orlov learns the power of deception from a Roman Catholic father that pretended to be Jewish in order to leave the Soviet Union...")

Other Resources from 2018 to 2020

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Resources from the Bookstore

Children's Resources and Dramas

The Classics

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