Archives: Mark 9:38-50

The Road to Heaven is Made of Band-aids and Duct Tape

I’ll admit that at first blush this gospel reading does not seem like “Good News” but instead “Confusing and Rather Alarming News.”

All of Jesus’ talk of cutting off hands and feet makes me a little edgy.

And by the time we get to the worm that never dies and the unquenchable fire, I’m squirming in my seat.

The bit about stumbling blocks brings back embarrassing memories.

I was an incurable klutz as a child.

Despite years of ballet lessons I continued to knock over lamps and crash into furniture until the immortal morning of the first day of my freshman year of high school when I opened the car door and promptly fell directly onto the ground in front of all my new classmates.

To add insult to injury later that same first day of high school—and I am not making this up—I fell over a rack of music stands in the hallway during passing period after fourth hour.

I went to lunch in tears, convinced I would be known for the rest of high school as that weird girl who falls all the time.

Luckily now I can hide my clumsiness most of the time but I still have the ability to wreak havoc both on my surroundings and my body.

Suffice it to say that if I took Jesus’ instructions literally about severing body parts every time they caused me to stumble I would be completely without extremities, missing my eyes, and probably bald since when I wore my hair long, I routinely shut it in car doors.

Those of us prone to tripping and falling get a little worried when the Christian life is described as a journey or path and Jesus himself is called the Way.

And yet who has ever walked the Christian path without stumbling? Continue reading