Pentecost 2B, June 6, 2021

New Covenant, Mark 3:20-21 and 31-35

“What Is He Thinking?”

     In chapter 1, Mark describes Jesus inviting total strangers to follow him. He records Jesus exorcising a demon from a worshiper in the synagogue and touching a leper, healing him of his skin disease.

In chapter 2, Mark describes Jesus telling people their sins are forgiven. He records Jesus having dinner with “sinners” and breaking Jewish dietary laws.

At the beginning of chapter 3, Mark describes Jesus healing on the Sabbath. Then Mark writes that Jesus returns to his home town of Nazareth. He tells us that Jesus’ family thinks he’s lost his mind and they try to gain control of him.

Jesus is out and about. He’s going from town to town, village to village. He’s healing people. He’s showing people love and compassion. He’s extending forgiveness and making everyone feel welcome and instead of being praised, he’s thought to be out of his mind. People are asking, “What is he thinking?”

Jesus is thought to be out of his mind; because he’s providing free healthcare to the sickest of sick and poorest of poor, because he’s treating everyone he meets with dignity and respect, because he’s telling people that God forgives their sins, because he promotes peace and reconciliation, because he says, “Turn the other cheek and go the extra mile,” because he says, “Love and pray for your enemies” and because he says, “Seek to serve rather than be served”. Well, if that’s what makes Jesus “Out of his mind,” then count me in and call me “Crazy” also.

We’re only 3 chapters into Mark’s gospel and already it’s clear, Jesus is different. Jesus is different from all the other teachers before him. He’s shaking things up. He’s controversial. He’s pushing the boundaries. The things he’s saying and the things he’s doing, they’re frequently opposite of what others expect to see and hear and many think he’s out of his mind. But the world today, like the world in Jesus’ day, still needs a bit of Jesus’ “Craziness.”

We still need to make sure that; the poorest of poor and sickest of sick still have access to healthcare & education, refuge is provided to those seeking to escape wars, violence, oppression, abuse and natural disasters, everyone is treated with dignity and respect, regardless of race or creed or nationality or status, love and peace and forgiveness are the messages we promote, we seek to reconcile, to turn the other cheek and to go the extra mile, we pray for our enemies and seek to serve rather than be served. And in doing so, people may think that we too are “Out of our minds.” But that’s ok, we’ll be in good company. Amen.


Rev. Bradley A. Walmer,
a 2008 graduate of Lancaster Theological Seminary, where he received his Master of Divinity degree and was awarded the 2008 Rev. Delores Berry prize for preaching. He was ordained into Christian ministry by the Lebanon Association of the Penn Central Conference of the United Church of Christ on June 1, 2008. Prior to beginning his pastorate here at New Covenant on August 1, 2015, he served as the pastor of St. Paul’s Summer Hill UCC in Auburn, Pa  (located southeast of Pottsville, PA).

Pastor Brad and his wife Michelle were born and raised in Lebanon County and now reside in the area with their dog, Barkley.


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