In My Name

22 Feb


Mark 9: 38-40

“John said to him,
‘Teacher, we saw someone casting
out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following
us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop
him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards
to speak evil of me. Whoever is
not against us is for us.”

Tribalism
is a fact of life in the church. Like politics we have our factions. Left,
centre left, centre, centre right, right and so on. Evangelicals, fundamentals,
liberals, progressives and more populate the church geography and we are never
sure where we fit or whether we fit at all.
Here’s
a hint, Jesus doesn’t care. He is not good with labels or with the finer points
of doctrine and theology. He doesn’t seem to care, in this passage any way,
whether people have a personal relationship with him, have been born again,
baptised, confirmed or whatever particular high jump we, as gatekeepers, put in
front of people.
He
recognises people who do things in his name. Now that doesn’t mean sticking the
word Jesus into every sentence or even ask WWJD or WWJND – the latest fad.
In
his name means doing things that are of the nature of things he would do.
Names
carried a significance greater than something to use when we are talking to
someone other than repeating ‘hey, you’. Names signified something of the
character and being of the person. It was and is important to have a good name,
a name attached to honourable, compassionate and just actions. A name can be
trusted. A name that when you say it brings to mind the character of the person
in question.
Doing
things in Jesus name means doing things that would be comfortable uttered in
the same sentence as the name of Jesus and that Jesus could be confused as the
one who did it. Healing people, standing up for the oppressed, caring for the
sick and homeless, fighting for refugees or simply being a good neighbour to
friends and foe alike are all things done in his name.
This
passage has something to say to intra-church relationships and the factions
that belittle churches such as the Anglican Church. This passage has something
to say to inter-church relationships so that all are welcomed and included in
the body of Christ. It has something to say to inter-faith relationships when
we look for what brings us together and not hat separates us. It has something
to say to relationships with all those who have no faith and are antagonistic
to those who do so that we again find causes and actions that brings us
together and not tear us apart.
Interestingly
enough, Jesus recognises the impact of doing as he does. People are changed,
transformed by the good they do. So transformed that they will do things
against the name or character of Jesus. Doing good is transformative, we could
say addictive – we want more and we become jealous and ensure that it is all we
do.  How many people do you know who seem
to be addicted to doing good deeds for others? They are always leading the way
and acting in the name of Jesus.

Let
us find ways to do good deed in the name of Jesus. 

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