Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +18, Yr B)

IF YOUR FOOT CAUSES YOU TO STUMBLE. . .
(Mark 9: 38-50)

These words of seeming mutilation:
how strange to us, the exaggeration
for heightened effect. The need for change
is what they’re about – to rearrange
one’s attitudes, actions, use of speech,
habitual ways. If what we reach
for is not to serve someone in love
but to serve ourselves (choosing to shove
aside another’s dignity or need),
then it’s our selfishness and greed
that cause us from the path to fall
(forgive the feet); it is the stubborn call
of pride that just won’t bend
(and not the hand) that most offends.
If our path from God’s has swerved,
look well inside, to that which serves
the will. There seek healing. And maybe start
with where most hurting dwells – the heart.