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Streaks And All!

**If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all** (Mark 9:35).
Wisdom 2:12,17-19; Psalms 54:3-5,6-8; James 3:16-4:3; Mark 9:30-37

Sermon Topic Humility

Sermon Week Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 9:35


In the early days of television, the old cowboy movie reruns -- the "Westerns" -- always made it easy for the viewer to distinguish between the "good guys" and the "bad guys" ...
The bad guys wore black hats. When they weren't robbing banks or hijacking trains, they were starting fights in the town saloon or intimidating the law-abiding citizenry.

On the other hand ...

The "good guys" wore white hats. When they weren't forming posses and chasing the bad guys, they were teaching the rancher's teenage son how to break in his new white horse or rescuing the terrified beautiful woman from stage-coach bandits.

Watching those old "Westerns," one was never confused about who was who. The line between good and evil was clearly drawn -- which, of course, is hardly the case in real life.

A Sunday School class was asked the challenging question: "If all the good people in the world were purple and all the bad people were orange, what color do you think you would be?" After several moments of serious pondering, one little girl answered, "I'd be streaky!"

That little girl answered for us all! If I were to say, "Will all the 'good guys' raise your right hands and all the 'bad guys' raise your left hands," not a single hand would go up, I'm sure. Why? Because we're all streaky, that's why!

Two ex-college classmates who hadn't seen each other in years, met by chance in a hotel lobby. They quickly began updating each other on their life situations. Said one, "I got married fifteen years ago and my husband is a perfect angel." "You are really fortunate" said the other, "my husband is still living."

Among those of us who are still living, not a single one is a perfect angel, nor a perfect saint. But flawed as we are, streaky as we are, not a single one of us is beyond redemption. We're all in the growing-up stage of our spiritual development. We're all still under construction, so to speak. We're all engaged in the ongoing process of becoming the kind of beautifully fulfilled human beings God [...]

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