September 24, 2000

Mark 9:30-37

Jesus left with his disciples and started through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know about it, because he was teaching the disciples that the Son of Man would be handed over to people who would kill him. But three days later he would rise to life. The disciples did not understand what Jesus meant, and they were afraid to ask.

Jesus and his disciples went to his home in Capernaum. After they were inside the house, Jesus asked them, "What were you arguing about along the way?" They had been arguing about which one of them was the greatest, and so they did not answer.

After Jesus sat down and told the twelve disciples to gather around him, he said, "If you want the place of honor, you must become a slave and serve others!"

Then Jesus had a child sand near him. He put his arm around the child and said, "When you welcome even a child because of me, you welcome me. And when you welcome me, you welcome me, you welcome the one who sent me."


1. Here's a place for on-liners to get some humorous and serious stuff sent to you on Sunday in anticipation of the next Sunday:

Invite your friends (and even your enemies) to subscribe. There's no charge. Ask them to send an e-mail message to with the word SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.

Here is what Ralph Milton has to say about this text in from Sunday's "Rumors":

A LOOK AT NEXT WEEK'S READINGS - These are the readings you are likely to hear in church this coming Sunday, September 24th, which is the 15th Sunday after Pentecost.

Proverbs 31:10-31 - The first thing I get, when I read this passage, is tired. The second thing it does is get me angry. Anyone, of whatever gender, who does all that stuff, has got to go to bed exhausted. She reminds me of some career women who also do all the work traditionally associated with housewifery, and then wonder why they burn out. Rev Bev observes that "not all women are made in that kind of a mold." I guess not. There are two telling phrases in this passage. Verse 23 says in effect, "Isn't she wonderful. Because of all the stuff she does, hubby can sit around with the other guys and be important." But then the very last verse is subversive, in terms of the culture of that time. Verse 31 says, "Give her a share in the fruit of her hands. . ." That was radical stuff in those days. Women, no matter how hard they worked, never got a share of the family's wealth. Bev however, would like to take us beyond the historical stuff, and have us do a list of our own gifts. "What gifts have you been given by God? How are you using those gifts?"

Psalm 1 - Just a quick reminder. When the Bible uses the word "law," it doesn't usually refer to a set of rules, but rather a way of living. You might paraphrase the first part of this psalm by saying, "The folks who go to church and live their Christian convictions are happier than those who don't." And you would have real research to back you up. The folks who visit church occasionally and never think about their convictions are like everyone else, but the 20 percent of people who are deeply active in their faith tradition (it doesn't matter much which one), are healthier, have fewer problems with addictions, their marriages last longer, they give far more to various charities, and their kids don't mess up as much. Rev Bev observes that those who "discredit or ridicule God" must be genuinely unhappy folks. What do you think?

James 3:13 - 4:3, 7-8a - Faith and love are a choice. It is a choice about the way we will live. Yes, it has something to do with the sense of love, of faith, in our hearts. But we still choose how we will translate that into living. That's the part that others see, but it has to be consistent with who we genuinely are. That's what this passage is about. Bev would like you to think about those choices. "What approach to living have you taken? How, or from whom, do you get support for this choice?"

Mark 9:30-37 - Now that I'm a grandpa, I keep sensing all over again what Jesus meant when he said, "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." Rev Bev found herself looking at verse 32, where the disciples had no clue what Jesus was on about, or what he was saying. If the disciples couldn't understand Jesus, it's no wonder we have problems. Bev would like
us to confront those problems. "Name the teachings you find difficult," she says. Just as it is OK when a child doesn't understand, it's also OK when we don't understand. Besides, Christian faith has more to do with love than understanding. Like my grandkids. There's all sorts of stuff they don't understand, but they know they are loved, so it's OK.

(Those who would like a more in-depth discussion of the lections might check the JoinHands web site, at Look for the periodical Aha!, and the online lectionary discussion called the Midrash.)


FROM THE BOOKSHELF - Jesus and the Child
from The Family Story Bible
by Ralph Milton
Northstone (Canada), Westminster/John Knox (USA)

Sometimes the disciples had arguments.

"Jesus likes me better than you."

"He does not!"

"Does so!"

"When Jesus gets to be king, I'll be his favorite."

"You will not!"

"I will so!"

Jesus felt very sad when he heard his friends arguing. "Come over here," Jesus said to the disciples. "I want to show you something."

Jesus went to where some children were playing. One child was sitting alone. "Why aren't you playing with the other children?" Jesus asked.

"They won't let me." said the child.

"Why?" Jesus asked.

"Because my legs hurt. I can't run. I get sick if I run hard."

Jesus picked the child up in his arms. Then he said to the disciples. "Do you see this child?"

"Of course."

"I want you to become like this child. Unless you can be like a little child, you will not be part of Gods Shalom."

"I don't get it," said Peter.

"Someday you will, Peter," said Jesus. "But for now, just remember. When you are being kind to a child, you are being kind to me."

Peter blinked. He could see how much Jesus loved the child.

"Here's something else to think about, Peter," said Jesus. "In God's Shalom, the first shall be last and the last shall be first."

Then Jesus looked at the child. "I'd like it if you could play with me. What do you like to play best of all?"

For information about this book, and lots of other resources, check out our website at:

2) and 3) perhaps that is enough for now.

Homepage | Sermon Prep