Rev. Alex Wilson
September 30, 2018
Rev. Alex Wilson

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Mark 9: 38-50

I believe her. I believe her because she is pointing to a truth which is deeper than just her words. I believe her, because its her story, her truth, her life, laid bare on national TV. I believe her because in a world where, as a white middle class male, I have and am given the social power to deny her truth, to shut down an inconvenient truth. Yet her traumatic experience and story is finally taking hold and empowering a movement of voices which are saying me too. I believe her because my heart knows that she is not the only one. I believe her because I know others like her of every gender. I believe her because in her story I hear the words of Jesus in our Gospel this morning. I believe her because in sharing her life and experience, we are drawn into the truth of this mornings Gospel- a truth which sets us free to be the spark for change.

Mark’s Gospel continues to challenge us with a deep lack of details, and yet the details we get this week are so uncomfortable. Remember, in the community of Mark’s gospel we would know the social backdrop of this story so the details, while frank, are super important. Yet we so often get caught in the details right? Think about what Jesus is asking of us in today's Gospel. Are we really meant to cut off from our bodies the things which are getting in the way? Jesus can’t literally mean that, its just far too bizarre- especially since we are made in God's image! But you see that's the issue. Our brains love to try and rationalize what it is we are seeing and hearing. The fundamental ideals of human existence remain: am I loved, am I ok, do I belong, so it's no surprise that we want to gloss over the more costly portions of scripture. Yet our lives are messy, which means the truth of our life is often found in the mess of scripture. We are trying our best to understand this thing called christian life, and so it makes sense that we would show jesus that we are doing his work by stopping those not sanctioned by the church to heal. But it is more than just getting in the way, it's about how we live our life as a way of love- to be the spark which instigates change.

So if we aren't meant to cut off the offending appendages in order to understand this life we are called to live, what do we do? Jesus, in his ministry, gave us the greatest prayer to understand the needs of our life and how to hone our eyes to see the world by it. The Lord's prayer gives us the words to articulate everything we need to live by in our everyday. It's the simplest and greatest of our prayers. Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into sin and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours- now and forever. Amen. in these words we are given the direction to live in peace- to forgive our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. To speak our truth, to listen to our truth, to see our truth in the world around us, and to share that truth through our lives for the coming of the kingdom today. The coming of this kingdom justice on earth as it is in heaven, feeds us, forgives us, protects us, and leads us into the nature and nurture of Jesus. But what does this have to do with us, and living our life today? It's about being apart of a community of equals which sets us free and changes the world.

As anglicans we believe in a big tent theology, where there is room for all people, backgrounds, pieties, and liturgical preferences. Our anglican principle of the Via- Media, latin for middle way, asks us to walk with people of different backgrounds, in the same way Jesus did. To hear and encounter differences, as Jesus did. To listen to voices from the edges and see ourselves in them, just as Jesus did. To build and form community grounded in this diversity just like Jesus did. Yet, we often get stuck in the weeds of interpretive practices and rationalization when it comes to what Jesus said. But all Jesus tells us to do is to follow him, so how do we continue to follow him this morning? Here are a few of the many ways we can continue that work together.

  • Be in relationship with one another.  Continue to go for coffee, have dinner together, call each other during the week. Pray for each other and let the other person know when you’ve prayed for them. Hear and learn from each other, listening to the life story of a friend in whom you see yourself and your own story. Be with one another, come and grow into relationship here.
  • Join a life group this fall. Study the Lord’s Prayer on Saturdays with us. Or the Bible on Mondays. Join the Rosary on tuesday and thursdays. Come and watch a movie on Thursday evenings. Come, explore, and express your life within the context of community to nurture the spark of change within us.
  • Feed on the Eucharist as a story of us, rather than about us. Hear and see in the great thanksgiving the trajectory of our own lives, of our doubt, of our fear, of our unknowing. Bring your fears and your lives to the foot of the altar, to receive from God his broken self for our broken selves. God does not call the perfect, he calls the imperfect which is why he broke himself on the cross for us- so he could be closer to us. Come and encounter yourself reflected back to you in the person of Christ in the Eucharist, so that we can change the world because of it.

I believe her. I believe her, because in her story is our story- a story of a human wanting to be heard, believed, seen, and loved, in a world more worried about getting lost in the details of self protection and ideology. I believe her, because I hear in her the words of Jesus this morning calling us to community, calling us to see ourselves in the other person, calling us to support each other and to listen with the ear of our hearts for the truth which is all around us. I believe her because she belongs here, and together we are called to build a community which represents the generosity of God's kingdom, which has room for all. God is calling you and I together, into a way of life which sparks change through the invitation to community. How will you be the spark of change in the world with your life this week?