Mark uses the word "immediately" quite often in this Gospel. "Amazed" and "Astounded" appear frequently too. They all have to do with the reaction to Jesus: people follow him immediately, do what he tells them to do immediately, they are amazed and astounded by what he says and accomplishes. Those choice of words are all part of the rush and whirlwind that is Mark's Gospel, and if we aren't paying attention, we can and do miss what is going on, not only in these accounts of Jesus' life, but in our world around us.
In the Hebrew Testament reading today, we have David getting ready to fight "the Philistine warrior" (colloquially known as Goliath). David knocks him down with a stone to the brow (we are spared, at least for today, David killing the Philistine with the Philistine's own sword and chopping off his head.) There is an urgency to this part of the story in First Kings: David's ascension and Saul's demise. And there is amazement and astonishment here too, as well as an immediacy in David's actions in his response to God's empowerment of him.
There are times in life when we feel an immediacy to act, a need to do something....now. Often, that is God pushing us to act, even when many around us think we are nuts for doing the things we know deep within ourselves we are called upon to do. This can be compared to the beauty and fragility of day-lilies, that bloom for a day, and are gone the next. We can miss their beauty if we aren't paying attention. Just as there are times in life we can miss opportunities because we aren't listening to, or paying attention to, that deep-rooted voice helping us to do that which is right.
One of the hard parts about this is tempering our impatience, knowing when it is truly God pushing us, and when it is our own self-motivated interests. Differentiating between those two is something only we can do: with practice, with thoughtful attention, by being truly honest with ourselves and through prayer.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Day-lily, 2011, jfd+