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Sermon Excerpt: Are You Open to God? Mark 9:30-37, by Pastor Debbie

 

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in room full of people, with lots of noise. You start talking to the person sitting next to you, and the two of you are deep in conversation, confident that it is private because everyone else is also talking. You get to a point of saying something that you are willing to say to this person, but not to the rest of the people there. Maybe its a slightly off colored joke, or your true opinion about another person. All of sudden everyone else stops talking, and they hear what you had intended as being only shared with the other. There, in the stark silence the remark sits, for everyone to hear and to evaluate. It can leave a person embarrassed, and regretting what they had just a minute before had been so happy and willing to share.

This is what I imagine happened to the disciples. They have been walking along with Jesus, and in side conversations, arguing about who among them was the greatest. Never imagining that Jesus has overheard; in fact not even considering it. For there were at least 12 of them, plus Jesus, and probably more with the crowds who regularly traveled with Jesus. All that the disciples are focused on is who is the greatest, who is the best, the brightest, who should be lifted up as the premier disciple. Who is worthy of the place of honor, of prestige, the respect of the others. Who is worthy of being their leader when Jesus is no longer with them, as Jesus has been talking about.

And then, there is Jesus, asking them what they are arguing about. Suddenly, the disciples are brought up short and are embarrassed. Embarrassed about something that they had been so vehemently and unabashedly arguing about just moments before among themselves. Embarrassed once they look at their arguments in the light of Jesus. Embarrassed, because they realize that though they have followed Jesus down the road in to Galilee, they haven’t yet followed him fully down the spiritual road that Jesus is walking.

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