Tuesday, May 29th. Mark 9:38-41

John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For 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. Mark 9:38-41


It is probably some sort of arrested development in me but I continue to see a junior high cafeteria as a primary metaphor for life.


At some point, realizing that the world had changed and it had become necessary to feed, rather than simply educate, young people, the architect for the school designed a state of the art kitchen and an eating area that could accommodate the target population of students.  Then came the kids.


Gone were the elementary school rules of sitting with your class, junior high became the jungle.  Now the kids began the ordering process.  No one specifically wrote down the rules but soon everyone knew where the cool kids sat.  Over there are the geeks, over there the skaters.  Some of the kids think its cool to act like gangsta’s.  The Goth crowd is back in that corner.  The Asians hang together.  The African Americans over there.  Pity on the new kid in her first day of school and that dreadful moment when they have to find a place to sit.


Why does this happen to us?  Why do we do this to ourselves?


John is upset because someone outside of their group is helping people.  They tried to stop him – because he wasn’t in their inner circle.


But Jesus is OK with him.  What seems to matter to Jesus is making a difference for good.  Casting out a demon, giving a cup of cold water, it seems for Jesus that doing the right thing by people is far more important than hanging out with the right people.


Like a cafeteria.  Its purpose is providing space to eat, where there is food enough for everyone.  But that doesn’t seem to be enough for us.  We turn it into something else….like we do with neighborhoods, sections of town, regions of states, even hemispheres.


Why do we do it?  Because we mistakenly believe there isn’t enough for everyone.  So we arrange the rules so we get more, ignoring how that ends up with others getting less or nothing at all.  But we don’t notice that because we are hanging with the right crowd.  We don’t notice the fear among us, the anger around us, the resentment building. What good does this do…for anyone?


Let us pray:  Dear Lord, today help us be conscious of all the ways we play the insider/outsider game.  Make us aware of the degree to which we worry about being more than and better than some and less than others.  Give us opportunities to practice kindness and to show curiosity and interest in the lives of others.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


One Response to “Tuesday, May 29th. Mark 9:38-41”

  1. Kerry, Allie, Jonathan and Steve Says:

    This is a great commentary. Thanks for all the spirit you bring into our home.

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