Monday, September 21, 2009

Can they do that? Mark 9:38-50

17th Sunday after Pentecost, September 27, 2009
Proper 21B or Ordinary Time 26B

In today's Gospel story a man, who was not one of the 12 apostles and who wasn't even “Following them” was seen casting out daemons in Jesus name. Jesus friends told him that they tried to stop him from doing it.

I think that Jesus friends were expecting a great reward for their efforts. I think they were expecting Jesus to pat them each on the back and say, “That a boy, way to go stopping someone from misusing my name.” Instead of praising them Jesus told them to leave the man alone.

This story about Jesus is a little tough to take if you are convinced your church and your church alone are the one right way straight to heaven. There's an old story about a man who arrived in heaven after dying. As he was being shown around by Saint Peter and some of the angels he noticed a huge hedge surrounding one part of heaven with a quiet please sign beside the hedge. The man turned to Peter and the Angels and asked, “What's with the big hedge?” Peter turned back to him and smiled, “That's where all the folks from the INSERT YOUR FAVORITE SEPERATIST CHURCH BODY NAME HERE go, they think that they are all alone up here.” I've heard that with so many other denominations in the punch line over the years and I think it really makes the point.

They're on God's side?

Jesus’ power is so big that it can't and won't be contained in the boundaries that we human make for it. Jesus love for God the father and for all of us is so total it won't exist just in the walls of this congregation or in congregations that think and believe exactly like us. Jesus was so passionate about the whole world that he couldn’t stand by and watch his friends try and limit the use of his name or the the power that it had to remake the whole world.

Jesus called them out for their actions saying,

Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40Whoever is not against us is for us. 41For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.

42“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.

I don't think that John and the rest of Jesus friends got the pats on the back and the hardy handshakes that they were expecting. So what about us. Are we to busy telling God who he can and can't work with and who he can and can't save?

1 comment:

lilwatchergirl said...

My favourite re-telling of that joke is the version that ends "That's where all the Christians go. They think they're the only ones here."

Made me think, anyway. :)