URC Daily Devotion Wednesday, 14 February 2024

Wednesday, 14 February 2024  
Ash Wednesday


St Mark 7: 31 – 37
Then Jesus returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis.  They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him.  He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’  And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.  Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.  They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’

Once upon a time I made a comic book with a guy called Steve. 

“We need a back-up strip, to go along with the main story,” Steve told me. “Ok,” I said. 

“Let’s ask Dean,” he suggested. “Ok,” I said.

Dean is Australian. He draws weird pictures, usually pretty funny ones too.

“I’ll do one of the stories about Jesus,” Dean said. “Ok,” I said.

When the art came through it was classic Dean, colourful, chaotic, and funny. It was the story of Jesus healing the deaf man who couldn’t speak, Dean had taken great delight in illustrating the spitting. 

“This is great,” said Steve. “It’s very different to what we’re doing, a nice contrast.” “Ok,” I  said.

A few years later I got in touch with Dean again, to ask him about another project I was working on. 

“Ah mate,” he said. “I’m not really doing Christian stuff anymore, I’ve kind of left that behind now.” He explained that he had been hurt by unkindness and lack of acceptance.

“I guess the Church has done a number on me,” Dean sighed,  “ah mate, that’s really not ok,” I said.

“Jesus, though, eh?” Dean said. “I know,” I replied.

We talked about the drawing he’d done for Steve and me.

“That was like, ritual magic… in that story, you know? With the spitting, and the magic word? A weird story really.”  

“Very weird,” I said.

“Do you know what I think is really funny? How it starts off with the guy not being able to talk, and Jesus can fix that problem, but then, you know, the people won’t shut up, and Jesus can’t fix that one.”

“Mmmmm,” I said.

“Maybe that’s the thing with a lot of us, we just don’t know when to shut up,” Dean said.

God of spit and blood,
God of the stranger and of the strange,
Lead us to know when, and how, to keep our big mouths shut.



Today’s writer

Simon Cross is an ordinand at Westminster College


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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