Sermon Notes 9/27
I spoke yesterday on the passage in Mark 9:38-50. In many ways it is the most challenging passage in scripture for me. The great millstone to be hung around my neck should I lead any of the "little ones" astray. I spoke about how when I took things literally, it was very obvious just to give folks a cup of water. I told them by giving them water I had assured my reward in heaven (or been additionally blessed depending on your reading) - cause that's what it says. I then got to talking about how people really weren't taking the whole scripture literally, they were merely taking it literally as they chose. The evidence was a plain as the hand before my face. No one I knew was walking around maimed from having cut off hand, arm or eye or some other body part because it caused them to sin. I reminded them that the scriptures also tell us something deeper. The surface may be easy, but it does get harder. In that way I spoke about the passage where Jesus tells the Disciples it isn't what goes into the mouth that causes us to be unclean, but what comes out for it comes from the heart. And so it is with all sin, that it comes from our hearts and our minds. Our body parts don't cause us to sin. But, if I carry the logic out then I must cut my heart and mind out. Paul even tells us to have our hearts circumcised. We are given several commandments - the Great Commandment, and the others: to baptize, to teach them to obey, to cast out demons, to heal the sick, to care for those in prison. Water was a sign of hospitality, as are the commandments, they bring us back to community. We are not to run off those that do not do things our way, even if they are sinners to us (and yes I included adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, liars and the like by name, as well as running a denominational list before them), because Christ has called them to do things in his name as well. As long as they are doing so, they are not against us, but for us. So, if you want to take things literally, begin by giving some water.