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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, March 19, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Mark 9:30–37      

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” (NRSV)

I can’t imagine a more magical and sacred moment in life than holding a newborn child or grandchild. Peering into the innocence of their eyes, our hearts burst with love and the innate desire to love and protect. We all begin as helpless, vulnerable, unknowing creatures, totally dependent on our parents or caretakers to feed, hold, and bathe us so we can survive. As babies grow, relentless curiosity and a barrage of questions and the need to know ensue. Little children are sponges that seek to understand and discover, until that inevitable day they experience the embarrassment of being chastised for being wrong.

Don’t we all have the unconscious habit of frequently saying, “I know” in conversations? We all seem to have the constant need to be right, the greatest, the smartest, to have all the answers. At what point do we expend more energy trying to be understood as opposed to understanding?

So instead of the disciples arguing about who was the greatest among them, why didn’t they simply ask Jesus what he meant when he told them about his impending death and resurrection? Well, I’m guessing they didn’t want to appear as confused and fearful as they all were. No one wants to look uninformed, confused, or clueless right? I think we are just like the apostles. How many times in a business meeting or a church situation do we withhold our questions for fear of being wrong, not smart, and without the answers?

How might this story be different if the disciples had asked Jesus questions? How would our own stories be different if we ask Jesus our questions and prayed for clarity? How would our life change if we embraced our childlike soul like Jesus suggests?

Dear God, please give me the curiosity, wisdom, and fearlessness of a child so that I may understand and experience the miracle of your welcoming love each day. Amen.

Written by Cris Ohr, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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