The readings on which the sermon below is based can be found at:

s141g09 Sunday 29 18/10/09

'do .. whatever we ask' Mark 10.35

My reflection for this week follows on from that of last week that Moses, immediately he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of stone on which were written the ten commandments, one of which was 'Thou shalt not kill' ordered the Levites to kill the revellers amongst them. Today we have James and John's completely inappropriate response to Jesus third prediction that he was going to be killed. Next week we have the man cured of his blindness following Jesus instead of doing what Jesus actually said to him which was: 'Go'.

And this makes me think that experiences of the divine may indeed be real enough, but they are absolutely no guarantee whatsoever that the person's subsequent actions are divinely inspired. If we are to take the example of Moses, the greatest personal experience of the Almighty results in the death of three thousand persons.

It must inspire great chagrin for the Almighty.

But it is not just a personal thing. The prophets of the old covenant lament that it was precisely the people of God who so readily committed apostasy. Of course it was impossible for anyone else to commit apostasy anyway!

The fact that James and John got the message so completely wrong means that the people of God who claim to be 'christians' can be similarly deluded.

Despite being thoroughly imbued with religiously orthodox upbringing, Saul had to realise that his persecution of others was not God's will. He had to be born again into a community of inclusion of others. Despite Peter being the chief disciples, the rock on which Christ would build his church, witnessing his arrest and resurrection, he still had to realise that this meant exclusion of others was not God's will, and he too still needed to be born again into a community of inclusion of Gentiles.

My text for today gives us the clue, for if we use religion to get our own way in life, then no matter how much we think we worship the crucified one, we really haven't got the message.

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