URC Daily Devotion Wednesday 17th January 2024

Wednesday 17th January 2024
St Mark 1: 29 -34

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.


The scene is domestic and intimate.  Simon’s mother-in-law has a fever.  There is dis-ease in the engine room of the home.  Her illness is what is on everyone’s mind.  It impacts on how things function – or not.  Hospitality is called for, but it can’t be delivered.  Jesus comes, takes her by the hand in an act of tenderness, and lifts her up from her bed.  She is well, and gets back to the work that one suspects she knows inside out and loves to do. Her healing opens the floodgates, and as the sun goes down the whole city gathers around the door.  Suddenly we see a community riddled with illness and disturbed people.  So many.

In our homes there are times also when dis-ease is in the engine room.  Maybe relationships are askew. Perhaps there is developmental trauma. Neurodiversity may challenge parental capacity.  Accident, injury or infection may introduce permanent change. What then do we expect of Jesus?  I find help and hindrance in this little cameo.  Yes, like Simon and Andrew’s family, when there is dis-ease in the home we need to take it to the Lord with confidence.  That is helpful.  The hindrance comes, of course, with the speed of the recovery, in contrast with so much of our own experience.  Yet faith is deeply rooted and will not give way.  His restorative work may take years, rather than moments, but will be fulfilled.

Sometimes, though, the dis-ease in the engine room ends sadly or even tragically.  I am moving off today’s text here, but need to acknowledge that this is so.  Only those in that situation can speak of it. Beyond the domestic and intimate in Mark’s story I also see the epic.  Humanity ill and laid low.  The Saviour coming to take humanity by the hand and restore us to God’s purpose of mutual loving service.  The Gospel in a narrative nutshell.


Lord, I offer to you the homes and communities that I will be part of today. 
Thank you for them.
Thank you for your presence amongst us.
Thank you for helping us to help each other.
Thank you for the faith that, ultimately, all will be well.
But if it seems today that that faith is betrayed, hold us in the darkness.
May your peace fill our lives,



Today’s writer

The Rev’d Gwen Collins, retired minister, Avenue St Andrew’s URC


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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