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  • Writer's pictureRev. Kim Taylor

Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 9:41-42 bible study (May 7, 2024)

May 7, 2024: Tuesday Morning Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark 9:41-42

May the peace and love of our Savior fill your day today.

I will start with an invitation to join our family and the Burt's as we celebrate the graduation of three of the young men of our congregation on May 19 after the worship service. We will be serving a light lunch with sandwiches, chips, punch, and dessert. Please join us to say congratulations on the completion of this part of their life's journey. Worship is at 10AM, and lunch will start about 11:20AM in the parish hall. A quick reminder that Church Council will meet right after lunch at about 11:45AM. Please continue with the prayers that I mentioned to you in yesterday's Bible Study opening. I have a cardiology appointment on Monday next week.

coffee pen notebook bible on table
Start your day with God's Word

Today we will take a look at two verses in chapter 9 of the Gospel of Mark which guide us in the acts of grace in Christ's name that reveal His love and treasuring of all people. These grace filled acts are a natural outcome of the grace we ourselves have first received from our Savior. Jesus tells us that any act of grace offered by one of us to Christ's people will not lose its reward, meaning that we are always called to serve other people with acts of generosity and love. I know that in some denominations there is a belief that Christian people are only responsible to take care of others who accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. However, in the order of God's Love, and in the power of His creation, all people are God's, and His love is meant to enfold and care for them through us, because we believe that Christ's sacrifice was for the whole of God's creation which certainly includes all people. There is a broadness in God's Love that has come to us through Christ, and to all of creation, and in that we are the cherished gold of all of it when we come to God's Love through the Savior. There is a story about an African Christian mission where children are taught the lesson about that cup of water in the Gospel of Mark. In that particular village there arrives a large group of bearers of goods who stop there to take a break, looking very tired and thirsty, but under tribal custom, the people of the village object to giving another tribal group any sort of aid. However, the young children see the very possibility of fulfilling the words of Christ about that cup of water, so they come quietly out of the mission bearing pitchers of water to share with the very thirsty men. When everyone has received a drink, the children tell the men that even as children they are fulfilling Christ's command to treat others with kindness and love, and then they quietly walk back into the mission school. I hope that we see that this passage in Mark is not in any way restrictive of Christ's Grace, and that we can through our acts of grace lead others to know our Lord.

On the other hand, there is the next verse which clearly brings the wrath of God into play. If we think that we are only responsible for our own people in Christ, then we are probably failed in acting with grace for the people who God places in the paths of our lives, those we know and those we do not know. There are so many opportunities to present the Christ of Grace to others every day. When we fail, we certainly are called to confess the failures we know, and ones that we don't know. But to push others away from Christ's Grace because we can't take minutes to provide for the simple needs of others, or we find ourselves judging those who are different in their economy, their culture, or their religion, then we too are placing our relationship with Christ in jeopardy. Every one of us is guilty of relationship failures. Sometimes we don't stop to think about the impact of our thoughtlessness. Jared and I have had an interesting everyday meeting, usually in the evening after dinner. I sit in my recliner and Jared, and I have some minutes of testing strength, or wrestling in place, or tickling, the last several nights he has come to me to get things started by grabbing my generous double chin and moving it around. Needless to say, I have been kind of stern with him about not getting things started, telling him that my high blood pressure doesn't need to get any higher from our nightly encounter, so I have sent him away. After reading this passage this morning, I know that I will change my approach to Jared. Tonight, when he wants to start, I will offer him a time of quiet cuddling. It is different but I know that he will not feel rejected by his pastor dad. It will not be the one who has lost their way to Christ who will be judged negatively, It will be the ones who put them in that place in their lives when the Grace of God failed to find its way into their lives because a person of Christ, thoughtless and unkind with Christ's Grace did not light their path to the Savior. Is it any wonder that we all need to approach our Savior with confession and apology for all of the times that we lost His light ourselves.

In Christ's Loving Grace for your life. Pastor Kim

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