Lent, Day 32: On the team.

Today’s reading: Mark 9:33-50

After a few weeks of being off-track on my daily reading schedule, today I am finally catching up–and what’s more, I am incorporating tomorrow’s designated scripture into today’s reflection! (So, yes, tomorrow I am taking the day off!!!) Monday I’ll pick up with Mark chapter 10, and barring any more computer glitches, we’ll be good to go for the next two weeks ’til Easter Sunday!

I’d like to say, too, that today’s topic was in no way influenced by the cultural phenomenon that is March Madness. Typically I try to refrain from sports analogies (I figure Christendom has plenty of those from the vast profusion of male preachers; my hunch is that sermon sports storytelling far outweighs stories about cooking, crafts, childbearing, etc.). When I looked at the scriptures for today, I noticed how Bible editors have split it into three distinct sections– but obviously noone consulted me, because I think the three have a theme very much in common. When we read them as separate texts, we may miss it, but absorbed together, each of these “teachable moments” with Jesus seems to be a different facet of one stone: that is, what it means to be on the team.

To be on the team means no one is the greatest, and no one is first. (Or, looked at another way–everyone is the greatest, and everyone is first.) It means the leaders must be the servants. It means the least, the smallest are stand-ins for God’s own self.

To be on the team means we’re not the whole team. We’re part of a body, but we’re not the whole body. And the whole team doesn’t look like us. It doesn’t worship like us, it doesn’t talk like us, it doesn’t like the same music we do, it doesn’t have the same problems we do. But to be on the team means we must learn to recognize our teammates, and we must be for one another.

To be on the team means calling on each other to be our best, strongest selves so that our team can be its best and strongest. We trust in God’s redemption, and at the same time we hold high standards and know that for our own health we must remove ourselves from hurtful choices. We believe God holds us close, and know that we move must remove ourselves from those who would separate us from God.

And to be on the team means to maintain our shared character; among all our differences, to live up to the calling, the faith, the story that we share and that sets us apart from the world we play in. To be on the team, to share that life, means to be at peace together.

May the day come soon.

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