Relationships are important. In fact, there are not very many elements of living in community that are more important than relationships. If one lives in (a) community and never ventures out to talk to anyone, we put a label on them and call them a “hermit” or a “loner” or perhaps even worse. We consider that such a person is not of a particular norm, and they are labelled as a “pervert” person, a person who doesn’t like most other people, and someone who isn’t quite normal. So, in our society, relationships are very important. Closely related to relationships are elements that define the existence of relationships in community, that is, how we define the relationships between both individual and collective relationships. We often exclaim that we don’t trust someone (as an individual), or (even a group) because of what we have seen in another person’s relationships or in that particular group’s relationships. For instance, sometimes we declare that we don’t trust that guy next door who has been convicted of theft, because he has violated the trust that we might normally have of someone who exists in our community. We have little faith that he has been rehabilitated, and that he will not commit similar acts. The same can be said of groups as we tend to distrust members of a motorcycle gang because they do not have the same values and lifestyle that fits into our definition of healthy relationships within community. So, we don’t trust them and believe that the only thing they are faithful to, is the creed of the gang to which they belong. Faith and Trust were very important concepts to Mark in his New Testament writings; these two words, along with “belief” are translated from the same Greek word. Faith in Mark’s Writings is active, it isn’t simply believing in a set of doctrines; faith is about those things people entrust their lives with. Jesus urges people to “trust this good news (Mark 1:15) about God’s coming kingdom. And throughout the Gospel, he draws a close correlation between faith/trust and the power of God at work in the world. When people act as if God’s power is available through Jesus, they turn to him for healing. (Mark 2:5; 5:34). When they’re more skeptical or fail to believe,even he can’t do much good (Mark 6:5-5). In Mark, Jesus calls for “faith in God” (Mark 11:22) not faith in himself. But Jesus is God’s Christ, the one who serves as an authorized agent of divine power. So, people turn to him in faith when they trust that power—and they find life. I like this concept of Jesus being God’s authorized agent of divine power. How many times have we looked to find a business that was an authorized agent for the particular product or brand for which we were seeking a repair? Mark indicates in the Gospel that if one were looking for divine intervention, they only had to look to God’s Son who was an authorized agent of administering divine power. Whether it be divine power for healing a disease or inflammation, for healing a relationship, or for healing a broken spirit, one only had to look to Jesus. Because we believe, because we have faith, and because we trust Him to hear us, and guide us, we look to Jesus. So, Jesus is the authorized agent of God’s power, but at the same time that power is harnessed by God’s power also to be all knowing…that knowing exactly what is needed in every situation. Which is most often those things we don’t know. Our thinking is limited and crippled because we don’t have the whole picture. God answers us, just as promised through the authorized divine powers executed by His only Son. But he already knows that there are other things to consider than what might be well intentioned within our limited perspectives, and so the results are often not what we wanted, what we expected, or even what seems logical—until enough time passes that makes us realize that He had it right and then we finally often realize that we’re glad that we didn’t get our way. Perhaps it would be useful for all of us to see Jesus as God’s Christ, that is as God’s authorized agent of divine power. Jesus is always there to listen to us and to administer the power entrusted to him by the Father tendered with careful consideration of the “rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say. Best wishes to you until we return, stay happy, stay healthy and stay connected to God’s love through the reading of your Bible.