Sunday Reflection: Mark 9:38-50
My grandfather is known to have said, “My purpose in life is to get to heaven and take as many people with me as I can.” Here, Jesus gives us a piece of that road-map. First, the well-known, “Whoever is not against us is for us,” warning us to avoid looking for reasons to make enemies. Then, a dramatic and thorough drama about the more perilous parts of the journey. There may be temptation on the way, but stay the course and sacrifice anything to persist in the journey. Winding up in heaven without an eye, hand, or foot is still better than wandering around for eternity. In fact, wandering so far off course so as to cause sinfulness in a child is worse than a painful death itself.
After all that, it’s the third piece that is the hardest to interpret. Taking salt to represent a purification, preservative, or maybe a binding contract, Jesus says that we will all be purified and preserved eventually. We will soon be bound by an everlasting contract. So, it’s best to start here and now, to purify ourselves to prepare for this journey. “Be at peace with each other” – this must be the way to properly train for an expedient trip, no detours. Perhaps Jesus is hinting that the best way to get to heaven is to start living now like we are already there.
- The phrases used here are about entering into life and the kingdom of God, not heaven. How would our choices and behaviors change if we believed that heaven could actually begin in this life?
The Rev. Darren Steadman, Sermons that Work
Rector’s Corner: St. Michael is a house of prayer for everyone. We welcome all people seeking a spiritual home. Our hospitality is one form of our worship.
The Revd. Peter Smyth: I want to take a moment to extend a very warm welcome to our guess preacher this morning, The Reverend Peter Smyth. He is the Senior Port Chaplain of The Mission to Seafarers. We’re delighted to have you here. I also encourage members of the congregation to extend your hospitality and fellowship to Peter.
Pastoral Care and Concerns: If you need spiritual care for this week, please get in touch with our office secretary, Natasha Kaweski at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the church wardens to facilitate your request.
Parish Information Day: Many thanks to all our program coordinators for leading our parish information day last week. Our hope is to keep you informed about the mission and ministry that we offer in the parish. We also thank all of our parishioners for offering your time to this event.
A.C.W. Thanksgiving Dinner: We would like to thank members of our St. Michael’s Anglican Church Women for organizing this year’s thanksgiving dinner and silent auction. And, members of our parish, friends, families and partners in mission for supporting this occasion. I hope that you all had a good time together.
“Selfless love is always costly; fear can’t afford it, pride doesn’t understand it (but) friends never forget it.” Archbishop Melissa Skelton.