The Holy Gospel: November 4, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 12:28-34

Meditation:  “Right on the Border”

That’s the way Eugene Peterson translates “you’re not far from the Kingdom of God” in The Message.  His rendering caught my attention, and has stuck in my mind.

What was it that made the religion scholar “right on the border?”  There is no direct answer to the question in today’s lesson, but perhaps there are some indirect clues—clues that  can pertain to us, just as much as they did to the person in the text.

For one thing, the religion scholar was attracted by a lively conversation.  He had the capacity to be drawn into something compelling, and even to become a contributor.

For another thing, he appears to have had noticeable insight.  He could take Jesus’ answer to his question and see “into” and “beyond” it.

Interest and insight—two qualities necessary for anyone who would be truly religious, who would be a follower of Jesus.

So…how is he “on the border?”  We can almost hear Jesus saying to the scholar what he said to the wealthy man who had kept all the commandments from his youth: “you lack one thing.”

They both lacked investment.  The two commandments are not only meant to attract attention, they are meant to engage the will.  They are not only meant to lead to insight, but also to involvement.

As long as we view the commandments as “commandments,” we’ll be on the border—almost, but not quite, in the Kingdom.  Entrance into the Kingdom occurs when what we know becomes how we live.


About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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