One of the readings for today is Mark 9:38-48, and it reminds us how little changes unless we recognize that not all who follow Jesus do so in exactly the same way. Even now there are people and groups, and denominations who, like the disciple, want to be the special one/s. In the reading, the disciple says something like, “…we tried to stop him because he was not following us.” Jesus didn’t want this other person to be stopped then, so probably wouldn’t like what we might see happening today.
People, groups, denominations may make subtle references or may say outright that unless others don’t attend their particular place of worship or another place within their denomination, something is wrong. Some say that they are the only real Christians. They may, therefore, infer or say outright that others are not.
Wrong. They forget the words attributed to Jesus in this reading, saying that “putting a stumbling block” before those who believe in him is worse than death. He doesn’t say those that believe in him and worship in a particular way….. not only those in a particular group.
Christians follow Jesus. Period. Some are quiet and barely move during worship and others are boisterous and move constantly during worship. And they are all following Jesus. They are all Christians. They are all worshiping. They are all real; they are all loved by God, and we are all brothers and sisters, siblings in Christ.