October – All are welcome here
Mark 10: 2 – 16
All are welcome here!
The Pharisees in verse 2 asked Jesus “is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife”. The Pharisees saw divorce as a legal issue, to serve motives and rights of men. Women were often treated as property and marriage and divorce were regarded as transactions similar to buying and selling of land.
Jesus speaks against divorce because of the mistreatment of women by men. Jesus explained that this was not God’s intent for a man to use the law as an excuse to divorce his wife when he made references to the Genesis story. The purpose of marriage is that the couple are no longer two but one, what God has joined together, let no one separate, a commitment to permanence for life.
However, divorce was instituted to protect the injured party which in most cases are women. In cases of family violence against women and children, they may not have any other choice but to file for divorce or at least seek protection. Some denominations do not marry nor welcome divorced people. Thankfully, the Uniting Church recognises the complexity of divorce and marriage and seeks to provide a place of safety and new life for them.
Little children that were brought to Jesus and for Jesus, children presented the best example of the required attitude for members and church leaders. Children exhibit honesty, innocence, trust, humility, wonder, dependence, inquisitive mind with noises of discovery. Are we prepared to truly welcome children? If so, do they have inviting spaces in our properties and chapels to roam around and to showcase their creativeness or does our furniture, church buildings spaces becomes barriers to their sense of discovery. These stories remind us that divorcees, children and all people are welcomed.
What does a welcoming Christian community look like?
Mark 10: 17- 31
Ask questions and get ready for the answer
Here is a story about a wealthy young man who came to Jesus with a question “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus’ reply was a direct order with a clear expectation. “Go and sell everything you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, then come and follow me.” As the old saying goes, be careful when asking questions as you may not like the answer. This young man’s love of money represents his misplaced pride in accomplishment and achievement. He came to Jesus with a desire to serve him in a way Jesus deem fit but left disappointed when Jesus stipulated a level of service and commitment that he was unable to provide. The story reminds us that we must not let our love of possessions and accomplishments stop us from following Jesus and the challenges of being the follower of Christ.
What are you prepared to give up to follow Jesus?
Mark 10:35 – 45
Those who serve deserve
John and James went to Jesus with their request to be Jesus closest disciples sitting on his left and his right. They wanted honoured places. Unfortunately to them, Jesus was not talking about an earthly kingdom, but rather a challenge to what is in their hearts and lives as his followers. Jesus denied their request. Sometimes we ask God what we want through our prayers only to receive what we need for our own good. Jesus reminded them that since they are in his leadership team, their worthiness will be measured by their service. It is all about servant leadership and their commitment to the ministry of serving others.
What is your experience in the ministry of serving others?
Mark 10:46 – 52
I was blind but now I see.
One should be reminded that blind people deserve the same treatment and respect as people with sight. In Jesus time, blind people were at a severe disadvantage. Their only choice was to sit on the street and beg for food and money. Blindness was perhaps considered a curse from God for sin, but Jesus’ actions were a direct challenge to that notion. Jesus healed the blind beggar because of his faith. He believed that Jesus has the power to heal him and called out to him as the Son of God. Instead of asking for food or money, he asked to be healed. It is not an easy thing to look past the immediate needs of thirst and hunger. Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
The focus of the event is on faith like the first verse of the hymn Amazing Grace by John Newton. “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretched like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”
When in need of healing, what do you do? How is your faith?
These reflections were prepared by the Rev. Haloti Kailahi.