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    Resources for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost


Texts & Discussions:

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22 and
Psalm 124 or

Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29 and
Psalm 19:7-14

James 5:13-20
Mark 9:38-50



Prayer of Discipleship

God of Love and Grace, you have called us into radical discipleship in the name of your son Jesus.  To you alone belong all of our heart and our devotion. You freed us from the burden of sin and by your Spirit enabled us to serve you and our neighbor. Help us, we pray, to continue in our commitment to you.  Empower us to always seek your Kingdom first.

Teach us to pray for our brothers and sisters aright; that we be so consumed in love for them that we may feel their needs as much as our own. Enable us to give as freely as we have received from you so that the name of our Lord Jesus be glorified.   Amen.





Children's Messages

  • Cut it Out!  Mark 9:38-50 by Rev. Randy Quinn

  • Doctor Jesus, James 5:13-20
    by Rev. Frank Schaefer

  • Protection Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22
    by Rev. Frank Schaefer

Sermon Excerpt

A Case for Tolerance
Mark 9:38-50
Rev. Frank Schaefer

“Whoever Is Not Against Us Is for Us”

It’s beyond me to explain why so much of Christianity is so far off what Jesus of Nazareth actually taught. And he wasn’t even vague or unclear in any way. This passage is a prime example: here Jesus is clearly teaching the disciples a lesson in tolerance. He couldn’t have been more clear when he said: “Whoever is not against us is for us.”

And yet, much of conservative Christianity, and perhaps this is also true for other religions, are doing the exact opposite of what Jesus was teaching. They draw a line in the sand defining them and us in very strict and judgmental ways. They are turning Jesus’ statement around, saying: “if you’re not for me, you are against me.”

This is true for one of my close family members. She truly believes that not everybody who says that they are Christians are actually Christians. I wonder if the disciples would agree with her when she says, “unless you come to my church, or a church that is very similar to my church, and unless you believe the way I do (by which they usually mean the 5 fundamentals of Christianity), you can’t be a true believer.”

Even if you go to your church regularly, even if you are a pastor of such a church, even if you are doing good things in the world, even if you sing the same songs, etc. she doubts that you are a believer. She would be one of those who would say: Lord, I met a person who did good things in your name, I told them to stop.” “Why?” Cause their not one of us.”

Note how Jesus counters the disciples’ Us vs. Them language. The disciples said: we stopped him cause he was not one of us.

There it is, the us vs. them concept that is the cause for racism, sexism, heterosexism, unhealthy nationalism and racial / ethnic supremacy attitudes. If we could only stop that language, if we could only stop seeing the world in terms of “us vs. them,” we would actually have a chance to get along.

Where does this concept even come from? How can it be explained? One psychologist explains it like this ... Subscribers: click here for the full manuscript



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