March 1st Lenten Devotional

De-center Yourself

Beth Gedert

Mark 10:17-31

Disclosure: I am a white, cis-gender hetero female, educated, and
comfortably middle-class. This puts me in the global 1% – with more power,
privilege and wealth than most of the people in the history of the world. So this
text hits me where I live. As it always does for people like me.
People like me go to great lengths to make this story say something other
than its most obvious message. Maybe it’s talking about “wealth” more generally;
after all we can be rich in other things, right? Maybe “the eye of a needle” was a
tiny gate in Jerusalem, and a camel *could* get through it if the camel knelt down
… (And I’m just going to blow past how badly we take out of context the
statement, “With God all things are possible.”)
Rich people like me are super uncomfortable with this text. And so we try to
explain it away. But we aren’t the only ones who read this text. Jesus’ original
audience, and most of the rest of the world then and now, are not rich. And they
need to hear that the most important thing in life — the gospel – can’t be bought.
Most of the time wealth makes things easier. But in this case wealth makes it
harder. And that is good news for the poor.
I can see the value of that if I de-center myself. If I stop making this text
about me, if I realize I’m not always the main character in every story, then this
message manages to get around my defenses. And de-centering ourselves is what
our Lenten practices are all about.
Practice: notice where you are making yourself the center of every
story and ask God to help you see a different perspective.

Rev. Beth Gedert is the pastor of Zion United Church of Christ, an Open and Affirming
church seeking to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God in Delaware, Ohio

©2020 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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