Thursday, 27 September 2012

With arms open wide

Looking ahead to this Sunday's gospel: Jesus said: "Whoever is not against us is for us."(Mark 9:40)  He was confronted with the disciples guarding their territory, complaining about someone using Jesus' name to cast out demons.
Sadly, this is a scenario played out again and again in congregations and communities. We're not good at making room for others. Sure we'll welcome people, especially new people, but once they start straying into our territory, treading on our toes, maybe even having the audacity to do some things better than us, it is then that we close ranks and hang on to our places and our traditions and our way of doing things. Change would signal weakness and may deposit us on a slippery slope. Our welcome grows cold when we feel ourselves threatened. Making room for others might diminish our sphere of influence or compromise our high standards. Jesus makes it clear that positions are not important. And, as Mark's gospel unfolds, so does the message that there is room for all in the Kingdom of God. And, what's more, we need to move over, give up some of our space, learn to serve with humility. God sees beyond the outward appearance, beyond the boundaries. In God's embrace there is room for all.

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