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A Slip of the Tongue

A Slip of the Tongue?

slip of the tongueWelcome to church today! Whether you are a visitor or a regular, we hope you experience the joy that comes from being part of a loving church which values genuine fellowship and sharing of ourselves in ways that build each other up.

 

Our readings this week highlight the challenges facing Christians seeking to be faithful to the life Jesus modelled. So how are Christians supposed to live? What makes us different? What are the marks of true practical Christianity? These questions have been asked by generations of believers before us as they too sought to be faithful to our Lord while living in a constantly changing world. We must certainly ask them too.

A derogatory term that’s often used to describe Christians – fairly or unfairly –is ‘hypocrite’. As highlighted this week in the media, antisocial and abhorrent behaviour by a few reflects on the wider group as a whole. And it seems that mud sticks wherever it is thrown.

We must never bring shame on the One whose name we wear, though history shows that this is easier said than done.

While Jesus pointed to children as examples of the entry requirements for the kingdom of God, James pounces on this topic of practical Christianity.

In particular, James points to the tongue as a tiny yet powerful organ that reveals the inner desires of the heart. A word once spoken can never be retrieved; so we must take great care in what we say and write.

An old carpenter’s saying goes: “Measure twice, cut once”. We might apply this practical folk wisdom to our everyday conversations: “Think twice, speak once”. Then we might buy some time to ask: Do I need to say this? Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

We might just surprise ourselves by saying nothing at all, then inwardly giving thanks to God for saving us once again.

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May the words of our lips and the meditations of our hearts always be pleasing in the sight of our Lord. Amen.

 

Mark 9:30-37 Jesus Again Foretells His Death and Resurrection

30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; 31for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.’ 32But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

 

Who Is the Greatest?

33 Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ 34But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ 36Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

 

James 3:1-12 Taming the Tongue

3Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 3If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.

 

How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grape vine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.