February 6, 2015
Should we really get rid of all the important things that trouble us? This question refers to the Gospel reading for Sunday, Sept. 30, from Mark 9:47-48. In this reading Jesus advises the disciples to cut off their hand, foot or eye if it causes them to give scandal. In this reading Jesus is instructing the disciples on the responsibilities of discipleship. The most serious responsibility is to avoid giving scandal, particularly to the "little ones" who could be most easily misled. Jesus is not literally recommending physical mutilation; he is saying that giving scandal is so serious that a disciple must do everything he or she possibly can to avoid those attitudes and behaviors which give people the wrong impression of what it means to be a Christ-follower. The reference to physical mutilation is a rhetorical device to emphasize how serious the situation is. It is worth noting the emphasis Jesus puts on scandal, which is apparently the most serious wrong a Christian can commit. Often Christians think that the most seriously wrong things we do happen privately in our relationship to God; Jesus seems to be saying that the most seriously wrong things happen publicly, in our relationships to other people.
--Dave Cushing (10/12)