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MK 9: 30-37
15th S. after Pentecost

Jesus presents himself as a very unusual Son of Man. His reticence about his identity being revealed to people at large brings at least some weight to bear at the human end of the divine / human Son of Man 'see-saw'. More at the EZEK end than the DAN or REV end. More in keeping with that earthed Jesus who isn't prepared to use divine clout of any kind except loving compassion to be the kind of Son of Man / Messiah would-be cheer leaders were banking on. JES opts instead to be the Suffering Servant by definition at the human end of the see-saw. God's Little One for other little ones!

Some read into Jesus' attitude a note of self-doubt or ambivalence. If true, he's sending very mixed messages both then & now. The kind of mixed messages we ourselves are quite capable of when doubt outweighs faith. The kind of puzzlement that abounds out in our margins. Who needs Jesus to send such messages too?! I'm perfectly satisfied with the view that Jesus simply isn't ready yet to have the authorities intervene before his time is ripe. Underline his! (A point no one makes better than W.H.Vanstone in his 'The Stature of Waiting', DLT, '82.) Are we as conscious of God-time as we do well to be?

The whole issue of 'greatness' is one the churches refuse to deal with, those officially hierarchical & others that get there anyhow. Today, churches are in self-destruct mode over issues of doctrine (or lack of it) & the application of that doctrine (or lack of it) to issues like (homo-)sexuality. All give clear evidence of being more worried about keeping their own version of hierarchical structure intact than becoming like a little child, one of God's little people of all ages. It's God's own experience that change can only come from the bottom up - isn't that, in simple terms, the point of Jesus appearing among us as one of us? How can we little ones 'at the bottom' discern God's time & work for God's change?

Only when we let God give us a good hug like Jesus gives the child here, can we give each other a loving un-selfconscious hug irrespective of any place on any ladder we've set up or someone else has set up for us (often as control mechanism). Only when we welcome each other as God's fellow little people are we (& God) going to get anywhere in God's time & God's way.