Lent Week 5—Tuesday
Psalm 127 Exodus 5:1-6:1 1 Cor. 14:20-33a,39-40 Mark 9:42-50
When my daughter was just learning to walk, my son, almost six years old at the time, would scurry around in front of her clearing away obstacles and trying to keep her from stumbling. He understood that, for someone just learning to walk, those little things that we may step over by sheer muscle memory could lead to actual injury. Its very easy for us as adults to assume that children know what we know; that a baby learning to walk should know to step around or over what we would consider a small blip in our path. We aren’t malicious or mean, just unthinking sometimes. In Mark’s gospel, we see Jesus using a child as an example of a new believer, someone just learning and beginning to grow. He warns the disciples that to lead a neophyte astray is to be a crime that should be punished by drowning! What a point he’s making! He then goes on to say that if a body part causes you to sin you should remove it. So how does a hand, a foot, an eye cause sin? When it fails to deliver on the two main commandments. When a hand, whether knowingly or not, reaches out for things that don’t glorify God or share love with the people around us. When out feet become tripping points for others, or when our eyes gaze with resentment or envy. When our action or lack of action fractures the relationships we have with those around us. Jesus makes it our personal responsibility to examine and remove those blocks for ourselves and others. We cannot blame others for our sins, or take on the sins of someone else, but we can acknowledge that our actions have rippling consequences for those around us and be aware of how what we say and do can affect our neighbors.