• Steven Marsh

Barriers: a Reflection on Psalm 111, Isaiah 59:1-21, 2 Timothy 1:15-2:13, and Mark 10:1-16

Barriers are such a hindrance. Cones can block an entrance to a freeway exit. Language difference impedes understanding. Tolerance and intolerance disrupt unity. Any number of impairments can frustrate and inhibit learning. All of us are aware of barriers. Sometimes we ignore them, often to our peril and at other times we heed them.

Barriers can easily lead to divorce. Irreconcilable differences are the most often cited culprit. Jesus has strong words about divorce. It is a painful experience and I do not believe anyone really likes it or seeks out to have one.

Unrepentant adultery seems the only out. In fact, adultery appears to be the barrier to a successful marriage, according to Jesus.

Divorce renderings soar. Broken relationships abound.

Discipleship is rooted in high expectations. Just ponder the challenges and opportunities human has with sexuality. Can we figure out a better way? God made us sexual beings, but defining life by and rooting our identities in sex/sexuality creates barriers galore.

We are to be strong in grace as followers of Jesus. That means grace informs how we deal with intended and unintended barriers of discipleship. Bonhoeffer speaks of costly and cheap grace. That’s a mindful, life full, discussion filled pairing.

Practicing respect for the Lord breaks barriers. For life is defined by God. We’re to approach it as a dependent child.

My iniquities, as yours, cause barriers between us and God. Recovering the practices of confession of sin and dispensing forgiveness are worthy barrier crushers.

Scripture readings are taken from the two-year daily lectionary cycle which follows the liturgical calendar and begins on the First Sunday of Advent.

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