Reflection on Mark 6.1-6a

Jesus was amazed at their unbelief.

We are constantly being reminded that we live in an increasingly ‘secular’ world. The term ‘secular’ in this sense is generally interpreted as a world in which there is no room for faith. But, can our world be described as faith-less?

When we think of people describing themselves as having no faith, we can usually dig down into what they are saying and see they are speaking about specific denominational religion. They are usually saying they are not Christian, or Jewish, or Muslim, or Sikh, or Hindu, or whatever. There can be many reasons for such a lack of ‘faith’, and they are often associated with the struggle between a scientific rationale and accounts of miraculous events, that is events which defy the laws of nature as we understand them. However, the rational approach to ‘faith’ is superficial and many who feel that they cannot subscribe to a particular religion would still say that they have some sense of the ‘divine’. Of course, they may use all sorts of words other than ‘divine’ but, whatever word they might use, they are describing a sense of there being something bigger than this material world.

Associated with this sense of ‘rationality’ is the modern culture of ‘fame’. As we see in today’s reading, Jesus was rejected in his home town because people felt he was just one of them. They had seen him grow up without understanding anything about his role in God’s plan for the world. Modern evangelists often use the media to pass on their message. The use of media attracts a level of investigative journalism that, too often, reveals other interactions with the ways of the world. Those interactions often suggest a level of ordinariness, and sometimes corruption, that stokes the flames of secularism as words such as hypocrisy overshadow the true message of faith.

The human race has become increasingly unaccepting and unforgiving as its knowledge of science and nature has developed down the centuries. Rather than standing in awe and wonder at God’s amazing creation, we have turned our knowledge into a weapon that plays into the hands of the devil. We have created a down-to-earth counter-culture which is too quick to deny the divine. We find ourselves filling in our census forms with answers about faith such as: Jedi, pagan, satanist, or no faith. 

Today we are being encouraged to take that leap of faith that will bring into a closer relationship with Jesus. The Jesus who walked among us, who travelled the same roads as us, who suffered the same pains as us, who conquered death and brought us salvation. The Jesus who calls us his friends and yet is the Son of God. Let us pray that we might take that leap and set our scepticism and our doubt to one side for ever.