The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 58
While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, ‘How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared,What makes a Godly person? Recently, I have been having a text conversation with a young mother who began the conversation struggling with the question: what does it mean to submit to one's husband. Granted a question I wanted to just throw out and say they are taking a scripture and using it to oppress women. But I started slow and would end my side with a question about how did Jesus treat women. So she would ask more about the way he loved and welcomed women. We talked about the healing of young girls and old women, about fighting with mothers and learning from them to expand his ministry. We then looked at what Jesus said about marriage (not a lot by the way) with kingdom marriage being gone for we are as angels. She asked why God created us from the bone of Adam and I talked about Adams loneliness and moved us to Genesis one where God created us male and female in the image of God. We talked about submission and authority being based more on tradition and a desire to returned to an idealized, simpler past that never existed. The conversation then moved to what makes a Godly women or man. I pointed her to the Sermon on the Mount and the greatest commandment. These point us to a way of living that challenges our normal patterns of living where we are to forgive, love, pray, be merciful, spirit -filled. I know she wanted me to tell her what to do and I pointed her to the word, but I will admit she was speaking a language I am not comfortable with. To be Godly comes from a flavor of Christianity that I don't immerse myself in. So I tried to point her to discipleship.
“The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet.’ ”
David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?’ And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.
As he taught, he said, ‘Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the market-places, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.’
He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.’ Mark 12:35-44
In today's passage, Jesus is teaching in the temple, he begins by raising questions of who the Messiah is. For the scribes, say the Messiah is the son of David - a king, a soldier, a deliverer. Jesus argues that David says the Messiah sits at the right hand of God and he called the messiah Lord not his son. Jesus wants the scribes to realize the messiah is different than what you think. You are looking for the wrong kind of deliverance - it won't be a soldier.
This teaching continues with a critique of the scribes and what it means to be religious. Jesus points out that we need to be careful of those in church who wear the right clothes, require the proper language, need to have places of value and honor. We need to look at how their practices devour the poor and vulnerable (widows). They pray for show. God will challenge these people, God will push these people to be different. Or as Jesus says God will condemn them. After preaching against this group of religious, he sits down opposite the treasury and watches as people make offerings. He saw many wealthy people put in large sums of money. As he watched a poor widow dropped in two copper coins. Jesus gathers the disciples and said to them that the widow gave more than all the wealthy. For the widow gave everything she had, while the rich gave out of their abundance without even flinching a bit. She put in her whole living.
So to be Godly is not about the amount of money we give, it is not about outward signs of piety, or what committees you belong to. To be Godly is to live fully into your relationship with God. To give all that you are into this relationship. So how do we know what is real. That we aren't contributing our all because of obligation or to be seen and respected. To be Godly is to change your inside as well as your outside so who we are and how we act is because of our relationship to God. This doesn't mean we always get it right, but we are trying to live into our identity as beloved children of God.
Inspired by Love and Anger (Iona Community)
Inspired by love and anger, disturbed by need and painInformed of God’s own bias, we ask him once again:How long must some folk suffer? How long can few folk mind?How long dare vain self interest turn prayer and pity blind?
From those forever victims of heartless human greedTheir cruel plight composes a litany of need:Where are the fruits of justice? Where are the signs of peace?When is the day when prisoners dream and find their release?
From those forever shackled to what their wealth can buyThe fear of lost advantage provokes the bitter cryDon’t query our position! Don’t criticise our wealth!Don’t mention those exploited by politics and stealth!
To God, who through the prophets proclaimed a different ageWe offer earth’s indifference, its agony and rage:When will the wronged by righted? When will the Kingdom come?When will the world be generous to all instead of some?
God asks, Who will go for me? Who will extend my reach?And who, when few will listen, will prophesy and preach?And who,when few bid welcome,will offer all they know?And who, when few dare follow, will walk the road I show?
Amused in someone’s kitchen, asleep in someone’s boat,Attuned to what the ancients exposed, proclaimed, and wrote,A savior, without safety, a tradesman without toolsHas come to tip the balance with fishermen and fools.Inspired by Love and Anger