In-person worship services will be held as scheduled this Sunday. Please use discretion when determining whether roads are safe for your personal travel.
If you are unable to travel, consider joining worship online HERE at 7:30, 9, 11 or 5pm, on-demand at Resurrection’s YouTube channel, or on TV at KMCI 38 at 8am or 11am.
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21 Jesus said to them, “Does anyone bring in a lamp in order to put it under a basket or a bed? Shouldn’t it be placed on a lampstand? 22 Everything hidden will be revealed, and everything secret will come out into the open. 23 Whoever has ears to listen should pay attention!”
24 He said to them, “Listen carefully! God will evaluate you with the same standard you use to evaluate others. Indeed, you will receive even more. 25 Those who have will receive more, but as for those who don’t have, even what they don’t have will be taken away from them.”
Jesus used a familiar image, light from a lamp, to explain God’s kingdom. Light shows the beauty of God’s world, and helps people lost in the dark find their way. Jesus’ words had real everyday effects. Mark wrote his gospel as the Roman Empire tried to suppress the early Christians. Scholar William Barclay applied Jesus’ saying to today: “It is often easier to keep quiet the fact that we belong to Christ and his Church; but our Christianity should always be like the lamp that can be seen by all.” *
God, as I go about my everyday life, keep me mindful of the people who need to find your light in their world. Fill my heart with love for you so overflowing that I cannot keep it hidden. Amen.
A few years ago, back when many of us worked in offices instead of from home, I had scheduled a day to go out to lunch with two of my friends from work. My first friend, a woman about my age, walked down the long hallway toward me and waved. I asked her how she was doing.
“I’m OK, I guess,” she responded in a way that made it pretty clear she was not OK.
At that point, I had a choice. I could let her statement stand as she had stated it and enjoy a pleasant, if not meaningful, lunch with my friends; or I could ask and listen to what was bothering her. I chose the latter.
“Alright, that was not convincing at all, what’s going on?” I asked.
At first she was a little taken aback by my (probably overly) direct question, but I gave her a chance to collect her thoughts and respond. She told me she had just had a really bad meeting. A male coworker had dismissed her and treated her very much like a child, effectively cutting her out of the conversation. This was a very important project, so being cut out of it meant a great deal. As a woman in the workplace, my friend often dealt with male coworkers dismissing her and treating her with noticeably less respect than her male coworkers. It was casual enough that she never felt she could complain about it, but persistent enough that she could never forget about it. She had been particularly excited about this project, and when she was cut out of the conversation, it threw off her entire day.
Like Jesus’ analogy of the lamp, our goal is to illuminate everything in our lives. My friend initially dismissed her own emotions because she had so often heard that it was not a big deal that she started believing it. The light I was able to shine was simply to validate her emotions and give her permission to feel the sorrow and frustration she felt. That’s not to say that she couldn’t deal with this herself or that she needed me to jump in and save her—she just needed someone to confirm for her that this was an unfair situation that needed to be dealt with.
Microaggressions are a common and persistent part of our culture, and some people in our society have to deal with them many times a day. Women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, people who practice religions other than Christianity—many groups deal with this. A single comment or action is never enough to complain about, but when you see a dozen or more of these every day, you get the intended message: this world is not for people like you.
There are many things the light analogy in today’s passage could relate to, and just as many stories that I could have told. I’m highlighting this one because we all too often consider this a problem not worth shining light on. Though I responded correctly in the story I just told, there are many times when I’ve ignored a microaggression, or delivered one myself. There are times I’ve done things simply because I knew I could get away with them. I know better now, but I learned this lesson through failure. There are things that happen every day and keep happening because nobody thinks to shine a light on those things. I’m hoping microaggressions are something we’ll all start shining a light on–the people hearing them are often told not only that the microaggressions don’t matter, but that they don’t matter. We, as a church and a large group of people, can do better.
* William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of Mark, (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 100.
** Wright, N. T., Mark for Everyone (New Testament for Everyone Book 3) (pp. 44-45). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.