Speaking to the Soul: Jesus Sighed


Week of Proper 13, Year One

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]


Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 80 (morning) // 77, [79] (evening)
2 Samuel 7:1-17
Acts 18:1-11
Mark 8:11-21

Perhaps if we listen closely today, we can hear Jesus sighing. He sighs in the opening scene of today’s gospel, when the Pharisees are arguing with Jesus and pestering him for some kind of sign. The gospel tells us, “he sighed deeply in his spirit.” He asks, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Then he leaves, gets into his boat, and rows away. It’s as if he sighs and gives up on them.

What else might prompt Jesus to sigh deeply, disengage, and depart for other shores? When we share with the Pharisees a determination to argue and a demand for certainty in matters of faith, we could have a similar effect on Jesus. And it probably won’t take long today before we encounter something else that would drive Jesus away–some form of ignorance or hatred that makes our generation’s prospects seem hopeless.

Fortunately, Jesus never abandons human beings for long. Ultimately, the deep sighs of Jesus are not a sign that he wants to leave forever, but that he feels our hurts and knows our follies more than we do. When we find ourselves in a world that might make us run the other way, let’s listen for the sigh that lets us know that Jesus is in this with us.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps  program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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