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In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe Father Christmas gives Lucy a small bottle containing a healing cordial. A few drops of this medicine can cure almost anything, and even bring people back from the brink of death.
Near the end of the book, after the battle against the White Witch, Lucy’s brother, Edmond lies near death. The Great Lion Aslan, who is the Christ-figure in The Chronicles of Narnia, urges Lucy to act quickly with her cordial:
“Her hands trembled so much that she could hardly undo the stopper, but she managed it in the end and poured a few drops into her brother’s mouth.”
Notice what happens next:
“‘There are other people wounded,” said Aslan while she was still looking eagerly into Edmund’s pale face and wondering if the cordial would have any result.
“‘Yes, I know,’ said Lucy crossly. ‘Wait a minute.’
“‘Daughter of Eve,’ said Aslan in a graver voice, ‘others also are at the point of death.'”
Lucy gets up and goes with Aslan to tend to other wounded folk. When she is able to return to Edmund, she finds him “standing on his feet and not only healed of his wounds by looking better than she had seen him look–oh, for ages…”
I thought about this scene recently when I was reflecting on Mark 1:38. Jesus has been caring for many people at Peter’s home in Capernaum. There is still much more work to be done there, but after a time of prayer, Jesus insists on moving on to other villages: “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.”
Jesus and the disciples move out in mission, traveling throughout Galilee. Yet in Mark 2 and again still later in Mark, they return to Capernaum and resume work there. Matthew 4 puts it this way: Jesus made his home in Capernaum. Jesus goes out to reach people, but he also comes back home to those who already love him, and who still need him. Jesus does both. Jesus’ mission is a dual mission.
This gives me food for thought as we face a dual calling: caring for our dear “home folks” who have long been in our congregations while simultaneously reaching out to others. Yes, we are called to go into all the world. But caring for people already in the church is also a holy calling. Chaplaincy and evangelism are both holy callings. The resources of prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit are crucial as we seek to be faithful in both directions.
The grace and strength of the Lord Jesus Christ are sufficient for us all. There is enough of the healing blood in his cup for us all. Let’s practice our ministry as if we really believe that!
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