Dear Members and Friends of St. Stephen,
In this coming Sunday’s Gospel, “Jesus saw a great crowd, and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” The term compassion is explicitly used of Jesus’ attitude toward human beings in at least eight Gospel references, and it is implicit in the entire witness to his life, including his healing ministry in this passage. The Greek word for compassion refers to the inner organs of our bodies, our guts. When the gospels speak of Jesus’ compassion, as his being moved in his inmost being, they are expressing something very deep and mysterious. The compassion that Jesus felt was different from superficial or passing feelings of sorrow or sympathy. Rather, it extended to the most vulnerable part of his being. “With compassion”—this is how God views the world and how God asks us to view the world. “Be compassionate as your Father in heaven is compassionate,” Jesus teaches us; “love one another as I have loved you.” The Christian life is a journey toward compassion.
Blessings as you ponder the Scripture Between Sundays,
Erick Johnson, Interim Pastor
Sunday’s Scripture Readings: Mark 6:30-34, 53-56; Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 23; Ephesians 2:11-22
For This Week
Questions for Reflection:
The term “compassion fatigue” arose decades ago during a time of famines and disasters around the world. When we’ve seen too many appeals for hunger or disaster relief we discover that our compassion is limited. In Sunday’s gospel the disciples were able to offer care, but not constantly. Only God can extend constant compassion. God is the one who never suffers from compassion fatigue. Have you ever experienced “compassion fatigue”? What has helped to renew your compassion?
Monday, Psalm 142, Prayer for deliverance
Tuesday, Amos 9:1-4, God searches out rebellious Israel
Wednesday, Luke 7:31-35, Refusing the witness of John and Jesus
Thursday, Psalm 23, The Lord is my shepherd
Friday, Jeremiah 10:17-25, Stupid shepherds scatter the flock
Saturday, Luke 18:35-43, Jesus heals a blind beggar