The message today is taken from Jesus’ words to the disciples in Mark’s gospel: “Whoever is not against us is for us.”
I hope that this message can be taken in deeply by the many Christian groups in the world today. Too often the phrase is turned around to say “whoever is not FOR us is against us”. This creates a very insular outlook, where everyone and everything is measured by my standards. If they don’t fit in, don’t look ‘right’, don’t say the right things, don’t believe the EXACT same things, then THEY are not right. Like a formula for creating gold from straw, they must become like me, in order to be acceptable, and of course that is not possible.
Turning the phrase around, as Jesus did, has quite profound effects. “Whoever is not against us is for us.” How do you measure if someone is not against you? Like the measure of the enemy in C.S. Lewis’ “Last Battle”, it is no longer about which football team you follow, and whether you are wearing the right ‘colours’.
It is much more a matter of really knowing what is it that we stand FOR, what are the things that are really important.
What are our values, priorities, and relationships, with ourselves, with each other and with Jesus -and how do we express these?